Home invader demands ransom Gunman forces woman to call banker husband

March 08, 1997|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,SUN STAFF

A gunman invaded the Anneslie home of a bank manager yesterday and forced his wife, who is more than eight months pregnant with her first child, to telephone a $50,000 ransom demand to him at the bank. The extortion attempt failed, however.

It was the second incident in two weeks of a bank employee's family being threatened for ransom. On Feb. 21, two children of a NationsBank teller were abducted for ransom in Pimlico.

Yesterday, a man posing as a flower deliveryman knocked on the door of the home of Scott and Sheila Ann Gomsak in the 500 block of Regester Ave., police said. Forcing his way in at gunpoint, the man ordered Mrs. Gomsak, 27, to call her husband at the Provident Bank branch in the 4100 block of E. Joppa Road in Perry Hall with the ransom demand.

After forcing Mrs. Gomsak into a second-floor front room and telling her to stay there, the intruder apparently slipped out. Police said she did not see him leave.

Scott Gomsak, 27, notified bank security officers and called police at White Marsh Precinct about 9: 40 a.m. He said his instructions were to bring the cash to Providence Road and the Beltway, then go to the Towson Library "for further instructions," said Sgt. Kevin Novak, a department spokesman.

Detectives in unmarked cars covered both places as Mr. Gomsak followed the gunman's directions, but he was never approached, police said. Meanwhile, other officers went to the Gomsak home, Novak said.

Police covered the house front and rear, not knowing whether the gunman was inside. Officer Gary Doucett said he telephoned Mrs. Gomsak from across the street and talked for more than half an hour, trying to calm her.

"She was really hysterical; she didn't want to move," said Doucett, who said he watched Mrs. Gomsak through the picture window of the front room. He said she told him she had begun labor contractions during the ordeal but they subsided as he talked to her.

Finally, Tactical Squad members broke in through the front door, but the gunman was gone. An ambulance took Mrs. Gomsak to Greater Baltimore Medical Center where Mr. Gomsak met her. Police and FBI agents gathered there to interview them. The Gomsaks declined to talk with reporters, a hospital official said.

Police crime lab technicians swarmed over the house, dusting for fingerprints and looking for traces the intruder may have left, as officers canvassed the neighborhood for possible witnesses.

The incident happened so quickly and quietly that neighbors who were at home said they neither saw nor heard anything. A next-door neighbor said she knew nothing about it until a daughter called after hearing a news report.

Peter Martin, Provident Bank president, said the incident was a "copycat" of the Feb. 21 city case in which two children of a Nationsbank teller were abducted in Pimlico and released on a city street after their mother paid a ransom obtained from the bank.

"This is outrageous," Martin said. He said Provident Bank will post a reward for the culprit and any accomplices police discover.

The bank president praised Scott Gomsak, a longtime Provident employee. "He used his head; he did a good job," Martin said.

No money was passed, but Martin said a ransom payment was authorized as soon as Gomsak notified bank security.

"That is bank policy; we are most concerned about our employees," he said.

Pub Date: 3/08/97

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