Theft of auto with children leads to arrest, questions

March 21, 2000|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

With a Severn man arrested and accused of car theft, county police were checking on whether charges also should be brought against the victim -- who police say left his engine running and two children in the back seat as he stepped into a Laurel dry-cleaning business.

Police said the driver, a Laurel resident, had parked his Ford Explorer outside the business Friday afternoon on Fort Meade Road, leaving his son and a playmate -- both age 7 -- in the vehicle.

A man jumped into the vehicle and started to drive away, but stopped a few stores down the road after noticing the youngsters, police said. He let the children climb into the front seat and out the door before resuming his getaway in the vehicle, according to Western District Lt. Ronald McCabe.

The children, who were not hurt, ran back to the dry-cleaning shop.

An off-duty state trooper spotted the stolen vehicle about 15 minutes later on Route 170 when the driver nearly ran him off the road, police said. The trooper followed the vehicle to a warehouse on Florida Avenue, McCabe said.

The trooper lost sight of the driver, but found the Ford Explorer.

County officers, arriving at the scene, realized it was the stolen vehicle, searched the area and found the suspect inside the warehouse -- where he worked and apparently had stopped to pick up his paycheck, police said.

Charged with auto theft is Rodney Lee Jones, 37, of Severn, police said. He was released on bail.

Police said they planned to ask the state's attorney's office whether charges should be brought against the victim of the theft.

Man jumps from window to escape apartment fire

A 51-year-old Annapolis man -- awakened by the sound of dishes falling from a cabinet -- jumped to safety from a second-floor bedroom window early yesterday to escape a fire, a county fire department spokesman said.

The cause of the fire in the home on Dreams Landing Way was a stack of newspapers placed too close to a water heater, said Battalion Chief John M. Scholz.

The man, whose name was not released, was not injured in his leap, said Scholz.

The noise of dishes falling from a cabinet that caught fire awakened the man about 2 a.m., Scholz said.

It took 20 firefighters about 20 minutes to control the blaze. Damage was estimated at $20,000.

Police investigate car crash that killed teen

Speeding and alcohol were cited by police yesterday as factors in a car crash over the weekend that claimed the life of the driver -- an 18-year-old Shady Side resident.

Police said Daniel Keith Rogers of Idlewood Road was driving a new Ford Mustang west on Shady Side Side Road just before 1 a.m. Saturday when he lost control on a curve near Ira Lane.

The Mustang slid along a ditch and struck a telephone pole and a large tree. Rogers was pronounced dead at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Although speeding and drinking alcohol were found to be factors in a preliminary report, an investigation of the crash was continuing yesterday, police said.

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