Bulletproof vest leads to man's arrest

Baltimore police charge felon, 26, with illegally wearing body armor

January 03, 2002|By Del Quentin Wilber and John B. O'Donnell | Del Quentin Wilber and John B. O'Donnell,SUN STAFF

A 26-year-old felon who had been free on $150,000 bail in an attempted-murder case was arrested Tuesday by police on a warrant charging him with illegally wearing a bulletproof vest.

When police found Solothal D. Thomas at his girlfriend's house in the 2500 block of Brookfield Ave. about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, a bulletproof vest was lying next to him, authorities said.

He was being held without bail yesterday at the city jail.

Thomas of the 200 block of East Ave. has a long history of arrests. He has been charged nearly a dozen times with attempted murder, including a case in which he was accused of injuring seven people in a gun battle, and twice with murder.

Nearly every time, he has been acquitted of those charges or the charges have been dropped by prosecutors.

In September, he was charged with attempted murder and robbery in an assault on a man in the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Ave. He was released on $150,000 bond. His trial is scheduled for March 25.

In December, two Southern District officers spotted Thomas wearing a bulletproof vest but did not realize it was against the law for him to do so, police said yesterday. Thomas had pleaded guilty in 1998 to robbery with a deadly weapon, a violent crime that makes it illegal for him, under state law, to possess body armor.

The officers spoke to Detective John Giganti, who obtained an arrest warrant for Thomas on the charge of possessing body armor. Giganti found Thomas sleeping in a rear bedroom his of girlfriend's house, police said.

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