Robbery suspects make tracks -- and leave same

January 27, 2004|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Three men who robbed a Dunkin' Donuts in Northeast Baltimore early yesterday failed to cover their tracks, and that mistake resulted in their arrest after city police officers traced the footprints in the fresh snow right to their front door, police said.

"Apparently, these guys never saw cowboy or John Wayne movies where you drag a stick behind you to cover your tracks," said the department's chief of patrol, J. Charles Gutberlet III.

Officers Ronaldo Morales Jr. and Ezra Henders arrived at the doughnut shop at Harford Road and Gibbons Avenue about 2 a.m., police said, and were told by store employees that three men had just robbed the store at gunpoint, fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The officers went outside and found fresh footprints in the snow -- leading several blocks away to a house in the 3300 block of Gibbons Ave., police said.

They called members of the tactical units, who surrounded the house. By 7 a.m., three men had surrendered without incident. They were being questioned by detectives yesterday, said police, who declined to identify the men until charges were filed.

Police said they recovered a pellet gun in the house that they believe was used in the robbery.

Gutberlet said the men were captured because Morales and Henders decided to follow footprints that would have quickly vanished in yesterday's snowfall.

"It was very quick thinking," Gutberlet said.

The officers "played Daniel Boone and tracked the suspects' footprints in the snow for three blocks," Gutberlet added. "That is something you can't teach."

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