UMES official eludes police

Food services director wanted in 1984 holdup of California bank

Man resides in Salisbury

October 06, 1999|By Chris Guy | Chris Guy,SUN STAFF

A veteran food services administrator at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore has disappeared, apparently fleeing the Princess Anne campus just as an FBI agent and local police arrived Monday to arrest him on a 15-year-old armed robbery charge.

Derrick Alan Stevens, 47, known as Derrick Anderson since taking over as the university's chief of dining services in 1994, is charged in a 1984 California bank holdup in which the driver of a getaway car was killed, according to police.

University officials were stunned to learn that the man who has drawn a $70,000 annual salary and who supervised a staff of more than 50 food service workers could be the Youngstown, Ohio, native that federal agents say has an extensive criminal history that includes bank robbery, car theft, burglary and arson.

"It's just so hard to believe, particularly for an individual who works so hard and has had such a positive effect on the entire campus," said Ronnie Holden, the university's vice president for administrative affairs who has known Stevens for nearly 13 years. "It took us all by surprise; it's difficult to comprehend."

Federal authorities were alerted Monday when two Princess Anne town employees told police they recognized Stevens on an FBI wanted poster that had been hanging since late August in the lobby of the town's police station. According to the poster, Stevens has used several aliases.

Campus and town police were joined by an FBI agent from the Salisbury field office, but Stevens eluded the officers and has not been seen since Monday. Investigators do not believe Stevens was tipped about their arrival but slipped out of the college dining hall into another building as they approached.

"I think he saw that we were on campus," said Princess Anne police Chief Russell Pecoraro. "But this isn't like when he took off back in 1980-something. His residence, his bank account, everything is being monitored very closely. Where's he going to go?"

UMES officials say Stevens, who has lived in Salisbury in recent years, had an impressive resume that included years of experience in institutional food service and letters of recommendation. In fact, Stevens was well-known to Holden and other administrators.

In 1986, Stevens worked for Gourmet Food Services Inc., an Atlanta-based company that provided dining services for more than 3,000 UMES students. After his initial stint at UMES, he worked at Hampton University in Virginia for the same company. In 1994, when UMES officials decided to establish the university's food service operation, Stevens was hired as acting director. Two years later, he was promoted to director.

"I have known Mr. Anderson since 1986," said Holden. "He was never anything but professional. There was absolutely nothing to indicate anything like this."

Pub Date: 10/06/99

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