2 teens charged with stealing items from 15 vehicles since early Dec. Property, including tools, clothing and appliances, valued at about $10,000

December 30, 1997|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

People trickled into the state police barracks in Westminster yesterday to reclaim dozens of items, ranging from large, custom-made amplifiers to an audiotape version of the New Testament, stolen from at least 15 vehicles during the past month.

Two 17-year-olds were arrested, and state police were seeking a third suspect, after an anonymous caller reported suspicions about people hitting golf balls Sunday morning at Oklahoma Road Middle School in Eldersburg. Stereo equipment was visible in the suspects' truck.

The golf clubs that the suspects were using also had been stolen, said Tfc. Kevin Stricker. Answering the 9 a.m. call, he found a 1985 gray Mazda pickup with "a large amount of equipment in the truck covered up with blankets," he said.

One youth told the trooper he had bought a speaker that he believed to have been stolen and pulled it out. Stricker said he then saw a pile of other items.

The suspects gave a statement, saying the thefts were committed on the past four Friday nights mostly at the Ridgeview Chase and Willowood Gardens apartments near Westminster, Stricker said. Two other victims' cars, from Ohio and North Carolina, were parked at the Comfort Inn outside Westminster.

Yesterday, the recovered items covered two long tables in the basement at the barracks -- along with clothing and sunglasses allegedly purchased at Cranberry Mall with a credit card from a wallet that was left in one vehicle.

"I don't believe what people keep in their cars," Stricker said, referring to a laptop computer stolen from one of the vehicles.

He placed the value of all the recovered property at about $10,000, plus about $2,000 charged to the victim's credit card.

Among the items awaiting their owners were numerous car radios, audiocassette and compact-disc players, compact discs, a pair of purple underwear and a Winnie the Pooh tie, a coin-sorter, a pepper shaker, a toy suction-cup dart gun, cellular phones, a prom photo, an old-fashioned wooden police nightstick, a telephone caller-ID unit, a small bottle of Grand Marnier liqueur, mini-binoculars, deodorant, a thermostat, flashlights and rented videotapes.

Wire-cutters, pliers, wrenches and a hacksaw also lay on the table.

Corey Wallender, 20, of Westminster came to claim his custom-made amplifiers and other items, "a couple thousand dollars worth of stuff" taken from his 1996 Toyota Corolla parked at the Ridgeview Chase apartments Friday night.

"I came out Saturday morning, and the trunk was busted open," he said. "They didn't break the windows. They kicked in the back seat."

"I didn't think I was getting [the items] back," he added. "I was really surprised to get it back so quick."

The two 17-year-olds, both county residents, had no prior records. They were released to the custody of their parents on charges that include felony theft, destruction of property and tampering with a motor vehicle, Stricker said. Police suspect others might have been involved.

Pub Date: 12/30/97

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