Memo to the chief Police energy would be better spent arresting con artists than seizing cars.

March 31, 1998

MEMO TO: Anne Arundel County Police Chief Larry W. Tolliver.

Instead of expending so much energy building up your used-car collection, you should direct more manpower to catching criminals, such as the person who has been separating senior citizens from their money recently.

It's simply a matter of reordering priorities.

On the night of March 23, your department had seven officers from the Northern District's tactical unit, as well as the narcotics squad, assigned to the Megadeth concert at Michael's 8th Avenue banquet hall in Glen Burnie. They made 33 arrests and seized 15 cars under the drug forfeiture law. Yet the next morning, you apparently were unable to find an officer or two to apprehend a con artist scamming elderly residents.

A few weeks ago, Grant-A-Wish Foundation of Maryland, which organizes celebrity trips for children with life-threatening diseases, notified police that a woman was misrepresenting herself as a solicitor for the foundation.

It should have been an easy arrest because she was easy to

spot: A woman in her 30s with red hair, traveling on foot, going door-to-door and targeting seniors.

On March 24, a victim phoned Brian Morrison, director of Grant-A-Wish, to inquire about the solicitor.

Frustrated that the con artist was still operating wantonly, Mr. Morrison left his Baltimore office and tried to collar the thief. After locating her and chasing her 15 blocks through Glen Burnie, Mr. Morrison lost her.

Chief, we can't have citizens policing the county. Most people think it's your job to catch criminals, not collect cars.

Nothing was wrong with assigning narcotics officers to a heavy-metal concert and having them arrest drug dealers and their customers. But what enforcement objective was achieved by taking the vehicles?

The public would rather have you put behind bars con artists who prey on the elderly than seize the cars of teen "headbangers."

Pub Date: 3/31/98

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