Authorities seek to verify whereabouts of sex offenders

81 on list must register, keep addresses updated

Carroll County

February 24, 2005|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Maryland State Police and other Carroll County law enforcement agencies are verifying the whereabouts of 81 child sex offenders living in the county who are required to register and keep their addresses current, authorities said.

The initiative began last week and immediately located 65 of the 81 offenders at their current addresses, said Sgt. Douglas W. Reitz of the Westminster barracks' criminal investigation section.

He oversees county offenders on the registry, which is operated by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

"Some of them weren't home," he said of the listed offenders.

Failing to register or to notify the registry of a change of address, or filing false information, are misdemeanors punishable by up to three years' imprisonment and a $5,000 fine, he said. Six warrants have been issued so far.

`Worked very well'

"It's worked very well," said Lt. Dean Richardson, the Westminster barracks commander. "It emphasizes that these people have got to register and keep their information updated."

The operation included state troopers, county sheriff's deputies, Westminster city police officers and members of the Carroll County Advocacy and Investigation Center, formerly known as CASA, Reitz said. For the first time, the team also included parole and probation agents.

These agents might know of conditions placed upon the offender that the police don't, such as a prohibition on drinking alcohol, Reitz said, as happened in one visit.

Most complying

Most of those on the list have been calling in as required to their parole and probation agents, Reitz said, "but we want to go out and see that they're physically there. Ideally, we want to do this about two times a year. You want to be proactive."

The sex-offender registry is available on the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services' Web site, and those who must register are to notify officials within seven days of changing their address. He said Carroll has no sex offenders who are considered to be violent.

Informing the public

"We want the public to know who these guys are," said Reitz, adding that police rely upon the public to help keep track of the offenders. "A lot of times we just get calls on these guys, say from someone who's cruising the Internet and sees someone who lives down the street [listed] who he knows is gone - and lets us know."

Reitz said police arrested two men on outstanding warrants: David Wayne Shugars, 24, of the 4200 bock of Hanover Pike, Manchester, is charged with failing to register, and Donald Keith Hennessee, 50, of the 2700 block of Wildorlyn Drive in Finksburg, is charged with a probation violation for an alleged drunken-driving offense.

Four warrants issued

Four other warrants have been issued as a result of the operation, he said. The warrants are for men alleged not to be living at the addresses they gave. They are: Angel Miguel Munoz Rodriguez, 25, whose last address was an apartment in the first block of Charles St. in Westminster but who is believed to be in Hanover, Pa.; Ralph Eugene Muller, 47, who gave a relative's address in Westminster but apparently is homeless; Walter Howard Younger Jr., 39, whose last address was in the 500 block of Old Westminster Pike in Westminster; and Thomas Michael Wachter, 32, whose last known address was in the 3200 block of Main St. in Manchester.

Wachter apparently had been gone since at least September, Reitz said, and "would have slipped off the rail" had they not gone out to check the address.

`One is too many'

"The large majority of offenders in our area are compliant, but one is one too many to have floating around out there," Reitz said. "We want to be sure everyone who has to register in our county, we want to make sure they're accounted for.

"If they're giving us false information, then we are going to charge them and take them back into the courts."

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