No cash? No big deal for shoplifter

This Just In. . .

June 28, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

It is not clear why Mr. Norman Brown chose Lane Bryant, the clothing store that caters to the big-boned woman, for his shopping spree. Maybe he needed a "special size" in pajamas and just couldn't find it at the Big & Tall Men's Store.

Whatever. Lane Bryant is where we find Norman Brown as he gathers some articles of clothing, approaches the cashier and announces that he has, alas, no cash.

No cash? No problem. The cashier hands Norman a credit application. He fills it out. He writes his name, his address, his Social Security number. He even provides personal credit history, with account numbers for reference.

Unfortunately, Norman is denied credit.

But that doesn't stop him from shopping. Norman grabs ladies' coats off a rack and scrams. He takes $933 worth of merchandise out the door . . . and leaves his credit application behind.

A Baltimore County police officer found this very helpful in his search for Norman Brown.

The other day in District Court in Dundalk, Judge Joseph Ciotola noted Norman's previous record, then gave him a 10-year suspended sentence and 24 months of supervised probation. The judge also ordered Norman to pay restitution. And to stay away from Lane Bryant, no matter how much he might like the clothes.

Success story

The best moment in Wednesday night's glittery Entrepreneur of the Year ceremonies at the Hyatt came when Dorothy White took the trophy for consumer services. Before a ballroom packed with business executives, their employees and guests, White, who once picked Georgia cotton for $3 a day and is now CEO of an Arundel-based cleaning company, said: "I can't believe this, me standing up here in front of all you big people." She started the business in the early 1980s after her husband, James, was disabled by a serious heart condition. "I had to make up my mind," she said. "Was I gonna just stay home watching 'Love of Life' and 'All My Children'? Or was I gonna do something?" She started cleaning homes, then hiring others to do the same. Now her company, Miracle Services, cleans commercial properties throughout the region and employs 800 people.

Yahtzee, anyone?

I'll take a chance and proclaim it the oldest established Yahtzee tournament in Baltimore. The John Johnson Baltimore Yahtzee Invitational Tournament is so named because Johnson is the man who keeps it going from year to year in his big Butcher's Hill rowhouse. (He's also the professional chef who, until recent years, provided all the food.)

J.J. is one of the original Towson State radio brats who played Yahtzee till the wee hours. They were all part of the WCVT-FM crowd between 1977 and 1981, and they used to slip away from the campus station, meet in a basement in Charles Village and play the Milton Bradley game. (In Yahtzee, players take turns shaking five dice and trying to throw winning combinations.) The first invitational was held in 1980 with a field of eight. Tomorrow, -- when opening ceremonies are held under the huge mulberry tree in J.J.'s back yard, there will be 32 contestants, several of them J.J.'s old friends from TSU.

"We have to limit the field," J.J. says. "There's actually a waiting list to get in the tournament. But attractive, single women have the best chance of getting in because it's my party and I decide who gets to play."

Thumbs up

The two kids who live in my house gave a total of four thumbs up to "Can A Coal Scuttle Fly?" by (and about) Baltimore artist Tom Miller, written by Camay Calloway Murphy, daughter of the legendary Cab. It's a Miller-illustrated book that tells of a Baltimore boy's discovery of his artistic yearnings. There are a lot of nice, folksy touches sprinkled into the 32 pages, true stories from Miller's life as he grew up in the city. Six-year-old Nicholas laughed almost uncontrollably at two things: Boys chasing each other with crab claws at a family feast, and little Tom Miller going to kindergarten in a homemade suit with one pant leg shorter than the other. Nick's little sister, Julia, loved the bright colors and the surprises Miller slipped into his illustrations. I liked the incidental reference to a white "tire urn" full of flowers, sign of an Afro-American "Clean Block," and the great sense of love and hopefulness in the prose. Make that six thumbs up.

Bold and bolder

You know how everybody racing around the Beltway slows down when a state police cruiser shows up? Hah!

Wednesday evening on the outer loop, a friend doing 65 in the slow lane at Liberty Road kept a careful eye on a state olive-and-black up ahead. "I'm feeling quite bold doing 10 miles over the limit," my friend recalls. "Suddenly, a dull green Bronco races up on my right in the Liberty Road entrance merge lane and passes me going at least 75. And I'm thinking, 'Boy is this guy in for a surprise!' Well, he veers left, blows right by the cop car and even appeared to wave as he shot off toward Security Boulevard. Cop did absolutely nothing!"

Come on now. He was probably off duty.

Pub Date: 6/28/96

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