Police search for man charged in robbery spree

Suspected of striking in Pikesville yesterday

January 10, 2002|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A man charged in a series of home robberies in Northwest Baltimore and nearby Baltimore County is suspected of striking again yesterday in Pikesville, as police in both jurisdictions said they have stepped up patrols in response to the crime spree.

The latest incident linked to Durante Ricco Ervin, 41, took place about 12:30 p.m. yesterday in the 300 block of Upland Road. County police said a man knocked on the door of an elderly man and asked for a glass of water.

The victim, described as 75 to 80 years old by police, allowed the man to enter. Then the visitor asked for money, reached into the victim's pockets, took cash and ran away, police said.

Police said they have identified Ervin, whose nicknames include "Ben Hum" and "Big Ben Cooper," as the suspect and are obtaining a warrant - adding to others in which he has been charged in similar robberies. He is accused in warrants in three robberies in the city and one other in the county in recent weeks, police said.

In response to the robberies, city and county police said they have increased patrols in the neighborhoods and are urging elderly residents to not open their doors for strangers.

County police have charged Ervin in a warrant with a robbery Nov. 28 in the 3300 block of Northbrook Road and say they are seeking a warrant against him in another on Monday in the 2500 block of Lightfoot Drive.

Police also suspect that Ervin robbed an 86-year-old man in a second incident Monday in the 6500 block of Edenvale Road near Bonnie View Golf Course. They have also linked him to robberies of two other elderly Baltimore County residents in their homes last month.

"There is a concern that somebody is going to get hurt," said Cpl. Vickie Warehime, a county police spokeswoman.

City police have charged Ervin in three robberies in Northwest Baltimore, beginning Jan. 1 in the 3200 block of Taney Road. The victim in the first case was an 89-year-old man.

Police said Ervin visited the man's home the day before and said he needed to use the telephone, which the resident allowed him to do. Then he stole the man's wallet, police said.

The next day, police say, Ervin returned and told the man he had found his wallet, then forced his way inside when the victim refused to let him enter. The robber fled with cash and a change purse, police said.

On Jan. 4, he forced his way at knifepoint into a house in the 3300 block of Shelbourne Road, taking an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

On Jan. 5, he allegedly knocked on the door of a 79-year-old woman in the 3200 block of Shelbourne Road and asked to use her bathroom. He then grabbed the woman and demanded money.

Police asked anyone with information to call Metro Crime Stoppers at 410-276-8888. Callers can remain anonymous.

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