Robberies, up 7% other crime falls

March 02, 1995|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Wendy Pinkard won't work the night shift at the Quick Start Mini Mart in Laurel, and Amy Parisi doesn't work late at her Crofton jewelry store anymore.

Both women were victims of robbery, the major crime that showed the biggest increase in Anne Arundel County last year.

According to Maryland State Police statistics, robbery was up 7 percent last year. Murder, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, car theft and arson all decreased, helping to lower the county's overall serious crime rate by 2.4 percent.

Thefts barely increased, to 13,281 incidents reported in 1994 from 13,273 in 1993, an increase of 0.6 percent.

Robbery, defined as using force or the threat of force to commit a theft, has changed the working lives of Ms. Pinkard and Mrs. Parisi.

"We're definitely more cautious," said Kenneth Parisi, 31, who has owned Parisi's Diamond Trust with his wife, Amy, for six years.

The couple moved the business to the 1100 block of Route 3 North in November 1993 because they thought it would attract more business than the former location at Priest Bridge Centre in Crofton. Mrs. Parisi is starting to rue the day they decided to move.

The Parisis are trusting, small-town people from Niskayuna in upstate New York. They even engaged the men who robbed their shop in a bit of friendly banter until one of the men handed them a robbery note written on a pizza bag. The men, who were armed with a knife and a gun, took $220,000 worth of merchandise and still are at large.

Mrs. Parisi has become a bit more wary since the Nov. 16 robbery. She checks outside the store to make sure no one suspicious is lurking. She also said she is ready to hit the alarm "whenever any scruffy-looking person comes in."

The Parisis have toyed with the idea of locking the front door and admitting only customers who are buzzed in by store employees.

Ms. Pinkard, a 1994 graduate of Meade Senior High School, still gets nervous whenever people come into the Quick Start Mini Mart with their hands in their pockets. Her experience Christmas Eve is still fresh in her mind.

"A homeless man came in and said he wanted to exchange some cigarettes for some food," said Ms. Pinkard, 18. "Another man came in and stood by the cigarette display near the counter."

When the homeless man left, the other man put his right hand in his coat pocket and ordered Ms. Pinkard to give him money.

"I said, 'Are you kidding?' " she said.

Then she noticed that the man had something in his pocket that looked like a gun. She nervously grabbed a bag and tried to fill it with money. The robber started to panic when a car pulled into the parking lot, she said.

He screamed at her, ordered her not to push any buttons and not to call police or he would return to kill her, Ms. Pinkard said.

Less than three weeks later, she learned that county police had arrested Calvin Tyrone Cager, 33, of the 9200 block of Lapwing Court in Columbia Jan. 19 at a rescue mission in Westminster.

Mr. Cager has been charged with robbery and robbery of a business with a deadly weapon, and is being held on $50,000 bail at the Anne Arundel County jail.

Crime statistics

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1993 .. .. 1994 .. .. % change

Murder . .. .. .. .. .. .. . 22 .. . .. 11 .. .. .. -50.0

Rape ... .. .. .. .. .. ... 141 .. ... 132 .. .. ... -6.4

Robbery ... .. .. .. .. ... 647 .. ... 692 .. .. ... +7.0

Aggravated assault . .. . 1,394 .. . 1,287 .. .. ... -7.7

Breaking and entering.. . 4,029 .. . 3,644 .. .. ... -9.6

Larceny .. .. ... .. ... 13,273 ... 13,281 .. .. .. +0.06

Car theft . .. .. .. .. . 1,854 .. . 1,806 .. .. ... -2.6

Arson .. .. .. .. .. .. ... 146 .. ... 141 .. .. ... -3.4

Total .. .. .. .. .. ... 21,506 ... 20,994 .. .. ... -2.4

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