Man charged in 2 Harborplace holdups Suspect, 34, also accused of Owings Mills robbery police said was similar

September 22, 1995|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A man charged with robbing an Owings Mills Mall shop Tuesday also was charged yesterday in two of five gunpoint holdups at Baltimore's two Harborplace pavilions, police said yesterday.

Anthony Grace, 34, of the 100 block of Carlton St. in Baltimore posted bail and was released this week after his arrest in Baltimore County.

But after county and Baltimore City police compared notes and discovered similarities, city police arrested him again yesterday.

They charged Mr. Grace with two counts of robbery and felony handgun possession in connection with Harborplace holdups. He was questioned last night at the Central District station and was expected to see a bail commissioner last night.

City police had been scouring Baltimore's premier tourist attraction since Aug. 7, when the first store, Celebrate Baltimore Shop in the Light Street pavilion, was robbed minutes before its 10 p.m. closing.

The armed robberies unnerved many Harborplace merchants, some of whom said they closed their shops early because the holdups occurred just before closing.

Officials from the Rouse Co., which through a subsidiary owns and manages Harborplace, denied that stores closed early, but said some were allowed to shut down before closing time only until they could get at least two workers at each store.

Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a city police spokesman, said yesterday that detectives "feel confident that this is the suspect that has been targeting Harborplace over the past months. Hopefully, this will ease proprietors' fears and concerns."

Baltimore County police said they arrested Mr. Grace about 8 p.m. Tuesday after a holdup that day in the Owings Mills Mall and charged him with robbery and battery. He posted $65,000 in bail Wednesday and was released.

City police said Baltimore County detectives called them to say that the Owings Mills robbery was similar to those at Harborplace, and that descriptions of the suspect in each case were alike.

Agent Weinhold said police obtained two arrest warrants for Mr. Grace and picked him up yesterday. He was charged with holding up the Celebrate Baltimore Shop on Aug. 7 and Out on a Whim on Monday, the latest in the string of cases at Harborplace.

Rouse spokeswoman Cathy Lickteig refused to comment on the arrest. Several merchants contacted yesterday also declined to comment, saying they were told by company officials not to talk about the case.

But Carolyn deShields, who works at the Sport Shop, in the Pratt Street Pavilion that was robbed Aug. 9, said she hopes police have the right man.

"If he's caught, good," Ms. deShields said. "I hope there are no copycats out there. He had a lot of people on edge around here."

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