Robbery suspect's photo released

Man wanted in one of series of crimes in Anne Arundel

April 20, 2000|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Seeking help from the public, Anne Arundel County police have distributed photos of one of two Asian men sought in the Feb. 15 home-invasion robbery of a Crofton household, one of a series of crimes in the area that appeared to be aimed at Asians.

A 72-year-old man was bound with duct tape and locked in the basement as three robbers -- described as speaking Cantonese and Mandarin -- ransacked upstairs rooms and stole cash and jewelry.

Chan Wah Kwan, 39, of New York was arrested within minutes after the victim escaped from the basement and got a neighbor to call 911.

Officer Robert Crawford arrested Kwan and reported recovering a 9 mm handgun.

Kwan remains in custody, charged with armed robbery, burglary, felony theft, assault, false imprisonment, resisting arrest and a weapons violation.

Anne Arundel detectives began working with their counterparts in Baltimore County and other area jurisdictions investigating similar home invasions with Asian victims, and within a week they had identified another suspect, Minh Chan Ly, 32.

"There's a very high probability [Ly] is not in Anne Arundel County or the Baltimore metropolitan area," said Sgt. Thomas J. Wilson, head of the county police armed robbery unit. "We think he has ties from Virginia to Boston."

Police said they think people in the area might know of Ly's whereabouts or might have seen the suspect.

Home-invasion incidents are uncommon in the Baltimore area, but a state official specializing in Asian matters has said they might be more common than police think, many of them going unreported because of language and cultural barriers.

A month before the Crofton robbery, three men forced their way into the home of Chinese restaurateurs in Harford County, beat a 62-year-old woman who was baby-sitting her two grandchildren, locked the three of them in the basement and took jewelry and about $12,000 in cash.

Baltimore County police have reported similar home invasions targeting the owners of Chinese restaurants.

In Anne Arundel, five members of a Linthicum family were bound at the wrists and ankles during a 1998 home robbery, and two years earlier a Linthicum woman and family members were bound and held at gunpoint while robbers took jewelry and a safe.

In each Arundel incident and the Harford County attack, the victims and robbers were Asian, police said.

Anyone with information about Ly or the Crofton robbery is asked to call detectives at 410-222-3475.

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