Crime Solvers revived in effort to help close homicide case

$2,500 reward offered in pizza delivery killing

May 28, 2000|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Westminster's only unresolved homicide has prompted the resurrection of the Carroll County Crime Solvers, which is offering a $2,500 reward for information about the attack in February on an employee of Best Pizza.

The countywide program, a mechanism for gathering information to close a case, faded away about six years ago, said Lt. Terry L. Katz, commander of the Maryland State Police Westminster barracks.

"It's a great program," he said, "and certainly a homicide is the ideal thing, unfortunately, to kick it off with, because there's nothing more important."

Chad Lee Weller, 36, of Westminster, died March 2 at Maryland Shock Trauma Center of head injuries from a blunt object, said Westminster Police Capt. Randy Barnes. Weller was found at 7:25 p.m. Feb. 22 in Wantz Alley, about 200 feet from the rear of Best Pizza at 45 Pennsylvania Ave., where he was between deliveries.

About two blocks away, at West Main and Union streets, police found his red GMC Sonoma pickup truck, with the delivery sign still lighted.

"We continue to receive information about the case," Barnes said. "We're hopeful that we'll be able to make an arrest [but] at this point, we don't have a case that can be prosecuted."

City police, assisted by other local law enforcement agencies, went door to door in their investigation and found that many people knew the victim, Barnes said.

That didn't surprise Greg Weller, who said his older brother had not only worked delivering pizzas for many years but was a regular volunteer at local soup kitchens and at Resurrection Farm, a home for people in need. Many people the family didn't know made memorial contributions.

His brother would have handed his money to an assailant, Weller said. "He'd say, 'If you need it that bad, here: Take it.' Especially in the first week or so after his death, people would say, 'He helped me or my children out,' people I didn't know.

"It was pretty senseless, if it was a robbery," he said. "Nobody deserves to die the way he did. It was ugly. It was very, very ugly. In the beginning, some people were thinking this was just some bum lying in the alley."

The Crime Solvers program will be run by the nonprofit Community Foundation of Carroll County Inc., an alliance of members of the county's Chamber of Commerce and its Chiefs of Police Association, including individual town police forces, the sheriff's department, the state's attorney's office, and the state police.

Tax-deductible donations may be sent to the foundation in care of its executive director, Audrey S. Cimino, at BB&T Bank, 45 W. Main St., Westminster, 21157, or to the donor's local police agency.

The victim also was remembered last month with the tolling of a bell for deceased alumni at Western Maryland College's reunion weekend.

Chad Weller, who enjoyed playing acoustic guitar, was earning a degree in political science after completing studies at Carroll Community College, his brother said. "He was a passive, quiet kind of guy who kept to himself - until you got to politics. He was passionate about politics."

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