Police in Northwest Baltimore have arrested three men who they say are to blame for a summer crime wave in which more than 70 houses have been burglarized and seven pizza delivery men robbed.
Police said the crimes are not related.
One man was caught Monday afternoon when the owner of a house in the 5200 block of Belvieu Ave. came home and confronted another man, said Sgt. James Rood, who heads the Northwestern Police District's Major Crime Unit.
After interviewing the suspect, Rood said, his investigators, Officers Chris Wade and Anthony Lansey, charged the man with 40 counts of burglary. The burglaries occurred during the past several months in the Garrison, Liberty Heights, Wabash and Dolfield areas.
The suspect was identified as Rickie Ellerbe, 51, of the 3700 block of Boarman Ave. He was being held yesterday without bail in the Central Booking and Intake Center.
Rood's squad also charged a 40-year-old man yesterday with 23 counts of burglary stemming from in Liberty Heights and Garrison.
George McNeil of the 4400 block of White Chapel Road also was being held without bail at Central Booking.
"We've had a ton of burglaries up there," Rood said, adding that the suspect was arrested Monday on a warrant charging him with failing to appear in court for a hearing.
Police said that late last week they arrested Troy Wade, 31, of the 4400 block of Groveland Ave. and charged him with seven counts of armed robbery in a spate of Northwest Baltimore robberies of Pizza Boli's delivery men.
Rood said a man had spliced into the telephone line of a neighbor, ordered pepperoni pizzas from various shops and then jumped from an alley to rob the delivery men when they arrived.
Last week, officers set up a sting in which a detective posed as a delivery man, but the ruse was thwarted when a postal carrier made a delivery at the same time and scared the suspect away, Rood said.
But police obtained a search warrant after watching the suspect enter a residence, and Rood said they found pizza boxes scattered in the man's second-floor apartment with order tags ,, attached that coincided with the days and times of the robberies.
Rood said a man posed as a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. worker when he accepted a pizza. Police reportedly found a uniform in the suspect's apartment.
Rood said police didn't make the suspect's name public immediately because they had two other suspects, whom they have removed from their list.
"Since he has been arrested, we haven't had any pizza delivery men robbed," Rood said. Wade also is being held without bail at Central Booking and has a court hearing scheduled for next month.