Wave of vandalism strikes Arundel merchants Police blame incidents on youthful joy riders

April 02, 1997|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

For 20 years, Barry and Patsy Plowman saved extra dollars and shopped for larger business space, and on Jan. 2 they traded in their 1,500-square-foot shop in Pasadena for a 13,000-square-foot flower store with big glass windows in Glen Burnie.

They had 25 days to bask in their accomplishment. On the 26th day, vandals made the first foray. Over the next six weeks, they broke windows at Wildflowers Inc. on Crain Highway three times and robbed the shop once.

The couple didn't just fold, though; they decided to fight back by drawing other merchants, county police officers and leaders together to form PBC -- Police, Business, Community, Helping Each Other. The crime watch group was created to combat vandalism and graffiti from the Baltimore line to Jumpers Hole Road in Pasadena.

More than 100 businesses have been hit since November, county police said, mostly by vandals shooting out windows with BB guns and slingshots. Police have not made arrests in any of the attacks, but they blame juveniles.

"That's our belief, that it's teen-agers out joy riding at night with nothing better to do," said Northern District Capt. Emerson Davis.

Police have responded to merchants' concerns with foot, bicycle and squad-car patrols, and they are beginning to see a dramatic slowing in the number of incidents, Davis said.

As the numbers have dropped, however, vandals are hitting more homes and cars.

Glen Burnie merchants have established a reward fund with $500 to fight the problem. A town meeting on the problem will be held at 7 p.m. April 16 at the Glen Burnie Improvement Association hall at Crain Highway and First Avenue.

Contributions to the reward fund may be made to: PBC, Bank of Glen Burnie, P.O. Box 70, Glen Burnie 21061.

Anyone with information on the vandalism and graffiti should call Northern District Police at 410-222-8610.

Pub Date: 4/02/97

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