City/County Digest


October 10, 2002|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

In Baltimore City

Couple's deaths put homicide toll at 201 for the year

The late-night fatal shooting of a couple riding in a rental car in West Baltimore has taken the city's homicide toll for this year past the 200 mark, city police said yesterday.

Responding to an anonymous call reporting a shooting about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, police found the victims -- an unidentified man and woman -- in a 2002 Dodge Stratus that had been rented out of state and stopped after hitting a parked car in the 700 block of Whitmore Ave.

Both were taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where the man was pronounced dead at 11:24 p.m., and the woman at 12:40 a.m. yesterday, said Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman.

The deaths brought the homicide toll to 201, compared with 188 at the same time last year, the spokesman said. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call detectives at 410-396-2100.

Jessamy seeks witnesses to beating at market

City State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy issued an appeal yesterday for people who witnessed the beating of a Salvadoran construction worker at Lexington Market last month -- allegedly by sheriff's deputies mistaking him for a bank robber -- to call investigators in her office or the Police Department.

The victim, Rolando Sanchez, 26, who speaks little English, alleges that he was on a lunch break in the market Sept. 18 when at least 10 deputies attacked him and shot him with stun guns. Five deputies have been suspended with pay from their regular duties pending the outcome of an investigation.

Jessamy said she decided to assist the Sheriff's Department with its probe after being advised by Hispanic community leaders this week that witnesses to the beating were hesitant to speak with sheriff's investigators.

After the investigation is completed, Jessamy said, she will decide whether to pursue criminal charges. Anyone with information is asked to call A. Thomas Krehely Jr., chief of the state's attorney's Police Misconduct Division, or police Detective Frank Phillips at 410-361-9854 or 410-396-6836.

Board approves $11,295 to fly ill child from Texas

City officials approved spending $11,295 in federal Medicaid funds yesterday to cover the cost of transporting a Baltimore boy from Houston, where he had received cancer treatment, to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The city routinely uses Medicaid funds for a medical transportation program, but normally that involves taxi or ambulance rides to local clinics or hospitals, said Dr. Peter L. Beilenson, the city's health commissioner. In a few cases each year -- three this year -- money is used for air transportation, he said.

In the case approved yesterday by the Board of Estimates, the National Institutes of Health paid to transport the child to Texas Children's Cancer Center in Houston for experimental therapy.

The boy did not respond to the therapy in Houston and needed to be flown to Hopkins, officials said. The Health Department hired Critical Care Medflight Inc. to transport the child. The patient's age and condition were not released to protect his privacy.

Lane closures planned on Pulaski Highway

Nightly lane closures along Pulaski Highway are planned through tomorrow to allow for milling work, the city Office of Transportation announced.

Weather permitting, one westbound lane of the highway between Haven Street and Ellwood Avenue will be closed from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., the office said.

In Baltimore County

18-year-old is held in bank robbery attempt

TOWSON -- The 18-year-old man arrested Tuesday morning in an attempted robbery at a Rodgers Forge bank is being held at the county Detention Center on $200,000 bail, authorities said.

County police identified the suspect as Michael H. Keene, whose address was not available. Police said they took the teen-ager into custody after he ran from the Bradford Federal Savings Bank branch in the 6900 block of York Road. He was charged with armed robbery, police said.

Police say Keene bound and threatened numerous employees before the bank's alarm activated. They are still looking for an accomplice, whom they say Keene was talking with over a walkie-talkie during the attempted robbery.

Public's help sought in robbery suspect search

TOWSON -- County police are trying to identify a man they say has robbed businesses from Timonium to Essex at least 10 times over the past year.

They described the robber as a white male, 30 to 40 years old, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a thin build and a goatee. Police said he may have a tattoo on his inner forearm and said he is normally seen wearing a baseball cap and work boots.

During the robberies, police said, the man has displayed a handgun in his waistband or has implied he has one. Police ask anyone with information about the man to call county police at 410-307-2020, or Metro Crime Stoppers at 410-276-8888.

Ex-owner of care center pleads guilty to fraud

TOWSON -- The former owner of an adult day care center in Westview Park pleaded guilty this week in Baltimore County Circuit Court to one count of Medicaid fraud.

Prosecutors said that during the seven years he owned and operated Family Home Center on Baltimore National Pike, Barry Mehta of the 5500 block of Oakland Mills Road in Columbia stole $125,000 from Medicaid by systematically billing the state for the care of clients on days they were not present. Prosecutors said he instructed employees to add an average of two names to the list of clients who were present each day.

Mehta is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 8. CPM Corp., a company prosecutors said was controlled by Mehta and "associated with his day care center," also pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud and will pay a penalty of $250,000.

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