Witnesses link ex-Md. official to stolen goods

April 08, 1994|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Sun Staff Writer

A Howard Street antiques dealer who recalled a man selling a "most significant" silver service helped lead the police to former state health official John M. Staubitz Jr., now on trial on five charges of daytime housebreaking in Baltimore County.

Frederick Duggan, of the Imperial Half Bushel in the 800 block of N. Howard St., told a Circuit Court jury yesterday that Mr. Staubitz came to the shop Sept. 22, with Robert Ernest Emmons Jr., his alleged accomplice.

Emmons, 29, formerly of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to two burglary charges and testified for the prosecution. Both he and Mr. Staubitz also were charged with break-ins in Carroll and Howard counties.

Mr. Staubitz, 45, of the 6900 block of Pinecrest Road in Catonsville, has pleaded innocent to the charges of daytime housebreaking and grand theft. His defense attorney told the jury Wednesday that he has an alibi for much of the time when the burglaries occurred.

Once a deputy state health secretary, Mr. Staubitz was convicted in 1992 of skimming thousands of dollars from the Maryland State Games, an amateur athletics competition. He served seven months of a 10-month sentence and was released from prison in February 1993.

Mr. Duggan testified that Emmons wanted to sell several silver items that he claimed to have inherited, including a 19th century tea and coffee service that had been presented to a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad roadmaster. Emmons decided not to sell when told a piece was missing that would make the set more valuable if found.

Emmons left his name and telephone number with the dealer.

Mr. Duggan learned the set had been stolen a few days later at an antiques show in Upper Marlboro, where he saw a flier listing the missing items -- including the unique silver service.

In testimony Wednesday, Donald H. Shanklin of Monkton said the 150-year-old coffee service -- appraised at $27,500 -- was among the items stolen during a break-in at his home on Sept. 22.

In other testimony yesterday, Harry Lipsitz, manager of Beltway Mini Storage in Woodlawn, identified Mr. Staubitz as one of two men who rented space from him on Sept. 23, saying they needed it right away to avoid paying another month's apartment rent.

Emmons' mother, Barbara Emmons of the 400 block of E. Gittings St., testified yesterday that her son and Mr. Staubitz brought VCRs and camcorders into her home on Sept. 16. She said that when Emmons said the items were "hot," she ordered them out, and they carried the things back to Mr. Staubitz's van.

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