One arrested, two sought in N. Baltimore robberies

2 victims were forced into trunks of cars

October 29, 2002|By M. Dion Thompson | M. Dion Thompson,SUN STAFF

Police have arrested one man and are searching for two others in a string of North Baltimore robberies over the weekend in which two victims were forced into the trunks of cars.

None of the victims was injured in the crimes, which took place Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. Police announced their first arrest yesterday but gave no details about the suspect.

The first robbery occurred about 8 p.m. Friday in the 5200 block of Purlington Way. Three men, one of them carrying a handgun, walked up to a man getting out of his car and demanded money. The men forced the victim into his car trunk and fled. The victim escaped unharmed, having lost a wallet, $10 and a cellular phone, police said.

The second incident occurred at 4:20 p.m. Saturday in the 200 block of Tunbridge Road. The victim, who did not want to be identified, said yesterday that he was abducted in front of his children and was able to escape from the trunk of his assailants' car.

He said he had just returned from his children's soccer game and stepped out of the family van when two men, both with handguns, walked up to him and forced him to the ground.

"My kids were still in the van. I could hear them in there screaming," he said. "Basically, I was pleading with them not to take" the van.

A third man drove up, forced the victim into the car's trunk and drove off. As he bumped around in the trunk, the victim said, he dialed 911 on his cell phone and quietly began talking to the operator. The gunmen heard him, stopped the car, opened the trunk enough to insert a gun barrel and ordered him to throw the phone out.

"They slammed the trunk, and it popped back up. They slammed it again, and it popped back up. They slammed it again and I held it down," he said.

He waited for them to drive off, then slowly counted to five, giving the car enough time to pick up speed. Then he opened the trunk and jumped out.

"I ran like hell, trying to get back to my kids," he said. "I just wanted to get out of there. I knew whatever they wanted to do wasn't going to be good. ... I ran for my life through back yards, jumped over fences, zigzagged and everything else because I was afraid they were going to come and get me."

Police recovered the gunmen's car a short time later in the 100 block of Enfield Road.

As police were investigating that case, they got a third call for a robbery in the 600 block of Wyndhurst Ave. Three armed men had approached the victim, demanded money and escaped with a cell phone, credit cards and a handbag, police said.

The victim in the second robbery, who lost only his keys, said he has changed his parking routine since the incident. He said the crime brought with it a sense of frustration about living in a city he has grown to love but where crime seems ever-present despite the efforts of police and city officials.

"I don't know if it's them to blame or that there are so many criminals," he said. Reflecting on his escape, he said, "I feel like a lucky man, not an unlucky man."

Anyone with information on the crimes should call 410-367-3105 or 410-396-2455. Metro Crime Stoppers also can be called at 410-276-8888. Information leading to an arrest and indictment could bring a cash reward of up to $2,000.

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