Man who had guns in home is county zoning inspector Baltimore police say he apparently has permits

July 04, 1998|By Peter Hermann and Larry Carson | Peter Hermann and Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

A North Baltimore man arrested at home after authorities reported finding a cache of weapons and police uniforms, along with marijuana, is a Baltimore County zoning inspector who apparently has permits for his guns, city police said.

But Maj. Robert Novak, the Northern District commander, said investigators were double-checking the paperwork on the seven handguns and an assault rifle with records kept by the Maryland State Police.

Novak said prosecutors will decide whether to return the firearms, and the case won't be forwarded to them until state police complete their review, which could take several days.


Derek J. Propalis, 46, of the 500 block of Beaumont Ave. was charged with marijuana possession and discharging a gun within the city limits -- the latter because he had set up a firing range in his home.

A court date is scheduled for next month.

Propalis, who is on a local neighborhood association board and is the former president of the Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees (AFL-CIO), called police Monday night to report a suspected burglar. Officers said Propalis was standing in his doorway with a gun in his hand when they arrived.

Police found no burglar but reported seeing marijuana on Propalis' kitchen table. A further search of the Govans house, they said, turned up the guns, ammunition and four police uniforms and patches from local agencies.

Novak also said they found a makeshift firing range in the basement, with telephone books used as a backdrop. There was no evidence Propalis used the uniforms to impersonate officers, Novak said.

Supply store

Police said the uniforms had been purchased from a private police supply store and closely resembled what officers wear on the street.

Propalis could not be reached for comment yesterday.

"I like Derek," said Arnold E. Jablon, director of permits and development management for Baltimore County, where Propalis

works. "He's been an excellent inspector. People in the community like him. Until I know the facts, I'm totally on Derek's side."

Jablon said Propalis has not been suspended. He also said he was unaware that Propalis had been arrested in 1996 by a state trooper on Interstate 95.

Propalis was given probation before judgment on charges of handgun and drug possession.

A neighbor, Alice Streeter, described Propalis "as a typical, model neighbor. I wasn't aware of the guns, but what can I do about it?"

Pub Date: 7/04/98

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