Couple charged in burglary of 2 shops as police stake out area after string of incidents

Several Carroll businesses were robbed in past week

June 19, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Florida man who arrived in Carroll County last week and a local woman were arrested early yesterday by police investigating a string of burglaries in the Eldersburg area, authorities said.

Since June 12, six businesses along a 2-mile stretch of Liberty Road in South Carroll have been burglarized, and investigators noted similarities among the break-ins, said Cpl. Andrew Winner of the Westminster state police barracks.

Arrested on charges of burglary, theft, malicious destruction of property, possession of burglary tools and related conspiracy charges in the burglary of two eateries yesterday were David Wayne Mann, 36, and Bonnie Sue Hippler, 34. Both provided police with the same address in the 100 block of John Bennett Road in Sykesville.

Winner said neither suspect has been charged in previous break-ins reported between June 12 and Tuesday at a pizza shop, a bagel shop, a hair salon, a nail salon, a doughnut shop and a party-supply store along Liberty Road near Route 32.

Investigators will review those burglaries to determine whether the suspects can be linked to yesterday's incident, Winner said.

Thieves used locking pliers to twist off door locks, enter the establishments and steal money, Winner said. The break-ins occurred between 11: 30 p.m. and 3: 15 a.m., he said.

The similarities were sufficient to merit setting up a surveillance detail late Thursday night, assigning a half-dozen troopers from Westminster and the state police special operations division to patrol the area.

By 3: 30 a.m. yesterday, Winner said, authorities were considering calling off the operation when a vehicle stopped at the Londontown Square shopping center parking lot in front of Zi Pani, an eatery, and Frank's Pizza. The shopping center is on Londontown Boulevard near Liberty Road.

Minutes later, a man emerged from one of the establishments and returned to the car.

According to charging documents, an undisclosed amount of money in a paper bag belonging to the restaurant could be seen on the rear floor of the car and the vehicle's two occupants were taken into custody.

The door locks at both businesses had been twisted off, and business owners confirmed that money had been taken, Winner said.

According to charging documents, Mann told troopers he needed money to visit his family in New York and Hippler said she acted as a lookout while Mann entered the businesses.

The suspects are being held at the Carroll County Detention Center in Westminster in lieu of $50,000 bail, pending a hearing in District Court on Monday, court records show.

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