Imprints of boots lead to arrest Tracks left in snow from burglary try in Jan. provide link

March 12, 1997|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Some boots are made for walking, but Anne Arundel County police say Michael Frank Whitesides Jr. used his for burglarizing -- and left bootprints in the snow as an unwitting calling card.

Whitesides, 20, was charged last week with a burglary attempt at a home on Evanfield Court, one of seven break-ins and attempts in Millersville's Brittingham neighborhood in the early hours of Jan. 16.

Police said evidence -- including more bootprints -- is being reviewed and that other charges might be lodged. They said they were investigating the possibility of links to a string of similar cat burglaries since late November in affluent neighborhoods from Annapolis to Millersville.

Eastern District Sgt. Craig Korvin said many of the cases had common threads: an intruder getting into a home through a rear sliding door or window between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., taking cash or a purse, and, in a few instances, items sitting in the open, such as camcorders.

On Evanfield Court that morning, homeowner Thomas Hakos was awake about 4 a.m., lying on the couch after taking aspirin for a headache, when he heard a noise on his rear deck.

"I sat up," he recalled yesterday. "I wasn't sure if it was dog -- they come up sometimes. [But] it sounds bigger than a dog. As I sat up, the light on my deck went out."

Hakos said he walked to the rear door and found a man in black -- "a black ski mask, a complete black outfit" -- on the deck replacing the glass cover of the light bulb.

"I proceeded to yell at him and he took off," said Hakos, 44, a technical consultant for a computer business.

Searching for evidence in what turned out to be an early-morning crime wave, police took photographs of marks in the snow that appeared to have been left by two people.

The link to Whitesides was made after his arrest on weapons charges Feb. 26, when officers investigating a burglary in Brittingham about 4 a.m. noticed a parked car that, unlike others, did not have frost on the windows.

Whitesides was found inside the car, shoeless and claiming he ** had been sleeping there, police said.

Officers reported finding in the car a pair of work boots, a black sweat suit, a black ski mask, pants wrapped around a flashlight and two knives.

The knives prompted them to arrest Whitesides, a resident of the 7800 block of Bruton Drive in Glen Burnie.

Last Wednesday, evidence specialists matched the boots in the car to the prints left in the snow outside the house on Evanfield Court, and police obtained a warrant and arrested Whitesides on a charge of fourth-degree burglary -- an attempted break-in -- Korvin said.

A District Court commissioner set bail at $50,000, but that was reduced at a hearing the next day to $1,000, and Whitesides was released, authorities said.

Police said the bootprints gave them significant evidence to link the suspect to the Brittingham burglaries on Jan. 16, but not the 16 or so similar burglaries in the communities of Glen Oban in Arnold, Lindamoor on the Severn, the Winchester and St. Margarets neighborhoods outside Annapolis, and Stewarts Landing in Severna Park.

The crimes have left many people unnerved.

"It's a hard thing to get over, even though he didn't get into our house," said Hakos' wife, Dorothy, 44, who is in the real estate business.

Pub Date: 3/12/97

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