Dirt bikes taken from police impound lot Theft unit officers recover 17 in rowhouse raid

private guards implicated

June 15, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A widening investigation of dirt bike thefts from the Baltimore Police Department's impound lot on Pulaski Highway has led to two arrests and detectives said yesterday that at least two private security guards have been implicated.

The auto theft unit raided an abandoned East Baltimore rowhouse Thursday night and seized 17 dirt bikes and one four-wheel all-terrain vehicle believed to have been stolen from the lot.

Investigators said they are unsure how many dirt bikes -- small motorcycles built for off-road use, but commonly driven by packs of teen-agers on city streets -- have been stolen. They say the ring is responsible for 50 to 75 thefts.

"I don't know how far it's going to go," said Detective Stanley Brandford, a member of the auto theft unit. He said the stolen dirt bikes, which retail between $700 and $2,000, were being resold for $700 on the street.

Police said that two Wells Fargo security guards assigned to the impound lot in the 6700 block of Pulaski Highway have been transferred out of the city yard. Investigators said the guards are being investigated for allegedly aiding in the theft of the bikes or processing fraudulent paperwork to get the bikes released.

Wells Fargo officials did not return calls yesterday.

The allegations create another problem for the security company. Police have said they are considering ousting the company guards from the headquarters because of two serious security breaches.

Dirt bikes are hard to trace. They do not have license plates nor motor vehicle registrations. Many are in the impound lot, seized because teen-agers illegally operate them in the city.

The most recent investigation was sparked by a man whom police told that his stolen dirt bike had been recovered. He went to the impound lot Tuesday to reclaim the bike, but was told it had been given to someone else.

Detective Verna Tomlin traced the paperwork used to release the bike to a house in the 5000 block of Queensberry Ave. in Northeast Baltimore. Police said they found the man's dirt bike at the house.

Lt. Paul Blair said officers did not arrest the woman because she appeared to be cooperating with the investigation. But on Thursday, the lieutenant said the woman came to the impound lot and tried to use "phony paperwork to get another motorcycle."

She and her boyfriend were arrested. Kesha Harley, 21, of the 5000 block of Queensberry Road was charged with six counts of theft and six counts of conspiracy to commit theft. Her boyfriend, Steven Wilson, 25, of the same address was charged with one count of attempted theft and one count of conspiracy.

Police obtained a search warrant for the rowhouse in the 1800 block of E. 28th St., where they said they found 17 dirt bikes.

Pub Date: 6/15/96

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