Radio waves lead to burglary suspects

Police, FCC follow signal while nursery employee talks with man

April 22, 1999|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Men accused of stealing 12 walkie-talkies, a stereo system, a telephone and two cellular telephones worth $2,500 from a Columbia nursery this week were arrested after authorities followed a trail of radio waves.

Howard County police and a federal official followed the radio transmissions and arrested three men -- two of them brothers -- Tuesday afternoon and charged them with burglary.

On Monday, Hans Metzler, who owns Metzler's Nursery at 10342 Owen Brown Road, reported the theft, which occurred between Sunday evening's closing and Monday morning's opening.

The next day, Metzler began picking up strange transmissions on his remaining radios, police said.

Police contacted the Federal Communications Commission, which sent an agent to monitor the transmissions.

A nursery employee, who did not want to be identified, said she tried to keep the conversation going with a man and joked about meeting him so the FCC could track him.

"He asked how tall I was," said the woman, who used the name Bambi during the radio chat. "I said five-eight. He said he was five-six. I said he was a little short for me."

"It was funny," she said. "It became this thing, like, `We're going to catch him.' "

Authorities found two men using the radios at nearby tennis courts, police said.

After a brief foot chase, they arrested the pair and another man.

Charged with burglary and theft are brothers Jerrell Hall, 20, and Terrell Hall, 20, both of the 6700 block of Pirch Way in Elkridge.

Jamaal Haughton, 18, of the 6900 block of Pendulum Lane in Columbia was charged with burglary.

Pub Date: 4/22/99

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