Harford Week

February 20, 2005

2 sheriff's deputies, police dogs honored by national group

The United States Police Canine Association recently recognized the work of two Harford County sheriff's deputies and their police dogs.

Deputy 1st Class John Seilback and his dog, Sabre, were honored when Sabre was named top police dog for 2004 and patrol dog for the fourth quarter. Deputy 1st Class Chris Gibbons and his dog, Spencer, received a Detector Dog award for their work in narcotics detection during the second quarter of 2004.

Seilback and Sabre received their award for the apprehension of a bank robbery suspect. On Dec. 4, Seilback responded to a call about a bank robbery in progress. After a police pursuit, the suspect fled his car into a wooded area. Seilback and Sabre began their pursuit in an area with a large, grassy bog, standing water and dense underbrush and briars.

Sabre established the track by detecting the suspect's scent and managed to maintain the track through difficult obstacles and terrain. As Sabre came within 15 feet of the suspect, who was hiding under a log, the suspect stood up and surrendered to Seilback. The Top Dog of the Year Award is the highest award given to a police canine and its handler.

Gibbons and his dog, Spencer, were recognized for their work in narcotics detection. On June 8, Gibbons and Spencer were asked to assist Maryland State Police with a narcotics scan on southbound Interstate 95. Spencer alerted officers to the driver's side sliding door seam. Once inside the vehicle, Spencer proceeded to the rear passenger compartment area and alerted them to two duffel bags.

During a search of the interior of the vehicle, troopers found two large, shrink-wrapped bundles of suspected marijuana, weighing 10 pounds and 19 pounds. Both occupants were arrested and charged.

Woman found stabbed; attempted murder charged

A 24-year-old Elkton woman was in critical condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center after a motor vehicle crash, which revealed she was also stabbed twice.

Erin Leigh Pilesky of Old Chestnut Court in Elkton was stabbed after an altercation early Feb. 12 in the 1100 block of Harford Town Drive in Abingdon, according to Edward Hopkins, a spokesman for the Harford Sheriff's Office.

Pilesky was stabbed once in the abdomen and once in the chest, Hopkins said. As Pilesky was driving away, she apparently lost control of her 2004 Mazda and crashed into a tree at Harford Town Drive and Bush Court in Abingdon, he said.

The crash was reported to police about 3 a.m. Members of the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company responded to the call, and after she was treated at the scene she was flown to Shock Trauma Center. Pilesky's condition worsened, and the medical staff discovered the stab wounds and notified police, Hopkins said.

Detectives said Pilesky had been involved in a fight with Amber Sunshine Hawley, 18, of the 1800 block of Brookside Drive, Edgewood, a short time before the crash, Hopkins said.

After the fight, the victim got into her car and left, Hopkins said. Detectives had also learned Pilesky had had a confrontation with Hawley in October 2004, Hopkins said.

Hawley was charged with attempted first- and second-degree murder and first- and second-degree assault, Hopkins said. She is being held in the Harford County Detention Center.

Teenage boy arrested in Bel Air holdup attempt

A 16-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday after he held up the Circuit City store on Marketplace Drive in Bel Air and then crashed a stolen Dodge minivan as he left the parking lot, town police said.

The youth, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was trying to steal 10 rap CDs about 3 p.m. when employees locked the front door, police said. The youth jabbed a pellet gun into the side of a female employee and fled after a security guard opened the door. Police found the youth near Spenceola Antique Center, where the minivan had broken down.

Police said they planned to charge the youth with nine counts, including two counts of second-degree assault, possession of a deadly weapon and theft of less than $500. He will also be charged with three motor vehicle violations.

Harkins nominates four to Commission for Women

Melissa Barnickel of Monkton, Shirley Brunkhorst of Bel Air, Diane Schmittinger of Bel Air and Deborah Starr of Fallston have been nominated to the Harford County Commission for Women.

The Harford County Council is expected to review the appointments by County Executive James M. Harkins at its March 1 session.

Upon council confirmation, each new commissioner will serve a three-year term expiring March 1, 2008.

Cecil County

Board OKs science text after public hearing

ELKTON -- The Cecil County school board unanimously approved Monday night Biology: The Dynamics of Life as a textbook for next year's 10th-grade science classrooms.

The decision came after a board member complained that the book made no reference to creationism.

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