Man reportedly posed as son of ex-governor, tried to buy car But one of Wilder's sons says 'Eric' not his brother

March 04, 1997|By Kris Antonelli and William F. Zorzi | Kris Antonelli and William F. Zorzi,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police were questioning a man yesterday who they say tried to buy a car from Russell BMW in Catonsville while pretending to be the son of former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder.

The man, believed to be 29 years old, was being questioned at White Marsh Precinct, and investigators were trying to verify his identity through fingerprints, said police spokesman Sgt. Kevin B. Novak.

The man had not been charged as of last night.

According to police, a man identifying himself as Eric Wilder also had been showing up at Jerry's Toyota on Belair Road since Feb. 20 and taking cars for test drives.

Salesmen at the dealership called police yesterday when they received a tip from another dealership that the man was not the son of the former Virginia governor. Wilder's sons are named Lynn, Loren and Lawrence.

According to Robb Banks, a salesman at Russell BMW in Catonsville, the man appeared Friday and Saturday at his dealership driving a Toyota Avalon on loan from Jerry's Toyota.

The man told salesmen at Russell that he wanted to buy a 1992 BMW 850, which was selling for about $50,000 at Russell, Banks said.

Friday, the man told Banks he wanted the BMW, but needed to get "a check from his trust fund." Saturday, Banks said, the man arrived to pick up the car but told Banks he had left the "certified check" for the car in Washington.

The young man, who could not produce identification, asked to borrow the car to pick up the check in Washington, but he left without the car when he was told that a salesman had to accompany him, Banks said.

But Banks, who had met the former governor at a 1993 Orioles Opening Day party, said he was troubled by the incident. He said yesterday that he called the Virginia state Republican Party in an effort to find out if an Eric Wilder was a son of the former governor.

Party officials apparently contacted one of the former governor's sons, who Banks said called him. The younger Wilder told Banks that it sounded like "a hoax" and that he had no brother named Eric.

Pub Date: 3/04/97

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