Stolen silverware recovered in Philadelphia Valuables removed from Baltimore-area homes

September 12, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan and Peter Hermann | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan and Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Dail Willis contributed to this article.

Anne Arundel County police recovered more than $37,000 worth of stolen silverware from antique stores in a Center City Philadelphia neighborhood this week, making a dent in a cat-burglary ring that stole high-end collectibles from homes in three local jurisdictions.

Working with police in Philadelphia, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County detectives on Thursday afternoon raided two stores in Antique Row, a three-block section with more than 20 antique stores.

The thieves had been smart enough to use an elderly woman posing as a grandmother looking to sell her silver heirlooms to the antique stores to avoid suspicion, said Detective Dennis Nast, of the Philadelphia police. The group's total loot taken from Baltimore-area homes since May was worth almost $500,000, police in those jurisdictions estimated.

"These people are experienced burglars," said Detective Rick Robinson of Anne Arundel. They peddled the loot in Philadelphia "to keep us off their trail."

Robinson said Anne Arundel police recovered 134 pieces of silverware in Thursday's raid but made no arrests. He said charges are pending further investigation and that the burglary ring comprises at least four to six thieves.

The burglars stole valuables worth at least $91,000 from three Anne Arundel homes in May, silver worth more than $300,000 from six Baltimore houses within the past six weeks, and in August more than 250 pieces of silverware worth almost $47,000 from a Baltimore County home just north of the city line.

Police said all the burglaries took place in upscale neighborhoods such as Roland Park in Baltimore and waterfront communities in Anne Arundel. In most cases the method of operation was the same.

The burglars struck in the middle of the night when occupants were sleeping. If an unlocked door or window was unavailable, they removed panes of glass, said Lt. Jay Fisher, head of the property crimes unit in Baltimore City. They then disabled or bypassed alarms, he said. None of the houses was ransacked, and no one was hurt.

The thieves stole figurines, jewelry and Vietnam War mementos from one Anne Arundel home. But mostly they took ornate silver trays, tea-sets and candlesticks.

"They knew just what they wanted," Fisher said. "They were silver thieves."

He suggested that the thieves sold the items to pawn and antique shops outside Baltimore to avoid tight city laws that require store employees to report all transactions with police.

Robinson said Anne Arundel County detectives made the Philadelphia connection after they raided a Baltimore home linked to the ring in July and questioned one of the occupants.

He said they also recovered a small amount of stolen silverware at the time but did not arrest the occupant.

Nast, of Philadelphia, said the two antique stores, in the 1000 block of Pine St., are not linked to the ring, adding that they fell for the ruse of using a grandmother figure seeking to sell her heirlooms.

Although no arrests were made Thursday, Anne Arundel County's Detective Van Howeth said police arrested two men in June and July they believe were part of the ring in connection with a May 31 burglary in Annapolis. Detectives tracked the men down after they used credit cards and checks stolen from the home.

Raymond Michael Myerly, 39, who had no fixed address, was arrested June 10 and charged with burglary, credit card offenses and theft, Howeth said. Robert Michael McCormick, 33, of the 3700 block of Crestfield Court in Baltimore, was tracked through stolen checks and arrested July 3, Howeth said.

Howeth said police also have a warrant for the arrest of Dana Levin Turner, 35, of the 3900 block of Calloway Ave. in Baltimore.

Robinson said police expect to arrest others within the next few weeks.

Pub Date: 9/12/98

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