Teen-agers suspected in robberies

Armed men fled, on foot, victims say

March 31, 2000|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

Howard County police are looking for at least two teen-agers who they say are responsible for three robberies -- two on the same day -- in Owen Brown village.

The gunmen in the three holdups used a long-barreled gun -- possibly a rifle or a shotgun, police said. The victims, men in their 40s and 50s, were robbed in dimly lighted parking lots.

"The suspects are young and we believe that they are local [residents]," said Sgt. Karen Shinham, who heads the county police robbery unit.

Police said two suspects are black males, 15 to 17 years old. One was described as 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall. The other was about 5 feet 5 inches tall with a thin build, police said.

Officers posted fliers describing the robbers in the village center on Cradlerock Way, as well as at the east Columbia library. The fliers also were distributed to youths along footpaths, Shinham said.

Metro Crime Stoppers is offering $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspects; police offer an additional $1,000, said Sgt. John Superson, police spokesman.

In Elkhorn Landing, a neighborhood of tidy brick townhouses where a 53-year-old man was robbed Tuesday evening, one resident said the holdups did not surprise him.

"I'm used to it," said John Peotker of Winter Rose Path. "I have lived in Howard [County] for a long time, and I've seen what Columbia has become. We do what we can to protect ourselves and live with it."

It's particularly worrisome, another resident said, because the suspects are believed to be teen-agers. "They are so impulsive," said Dee Oberzut, also of Winter Rose Path. "They don't think things through."

Police said the teen-agers robbed two men in less than an hour Monday evening.

According to detectives, a 49-year-old man was standing at his neighborhood mailboxes in the 7100 block of Honeyladen Place at 8: 11 p.m. when he was approached by two men who demanded his money. Both were wearing bandannas over their faces. One was armed with a rifle, the victim told police.

He gave them his wallet and they were seen running behind homes on Honeyladen Place.

A short time later -- at 8: 56 p.m. -- police were called to the 6600 block of Cradlerock Way, where a 40-year-old man told detectives that he had just been robbed by a man with a rifle. He told police that the gunman, after taking his wallet, ran across a parking lot toward a field where three or four teens appeared to be waiting.

In that incident, the gunman had a hood pulled over his head, police said.

"We think this is a group of neighborhood kids doing this," Shinham said.

In the holdup Tuesday, a man was walking on Winter Rose Path to his home when two gunmen approached him at 7: 40 p.m.

According to police, one gunman was armed with a handgun and the other had a shotgun. One was wearing what looked like a Halloween mask. They demanded the man's wallet and fled on foot on Cradlerock Way.

Shinham said detectives are investigating whether the break-in of a home March 23 in the 7400 block of Hickory Log Circle is related to the robberies. A rifle, a shotgun and jewelry were stolen between 3: 10 p.m. and 3: 30 p.m.

Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call police at 410-313-3200, Detective Duane Pierce at 410-313-3329 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 410-276-8888.

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