Man, 48, is charged in robberies of elderly

Tracking system in car led to suspect, police say

April 13, 2005|By Anica Butler | Anica Butler,SUN STAFF

A 48-year-old man was charged yesterday in two home-invasion robberies of elderly Baltimore County women, police said.

Michael Johnson, of no fixed address, was charged in the March 31 robbery of an 87-year-old Towson-area woman who, according to charging documents, was thrown down her basement stairs and tied up while her home was ransacked. Johnson also was charged in the armed robbery Monday of a 77-year-old Reisterstown woman, court records show.

After the robber left in the Reisterstown woman's car, the victim, who was found tied to a bedpost, told police that her Toyota Avalon was equipped with a tracking system, which led police to the car and to the suspect.

Officer Sean Vinson, a Baltimore County police spokesman, said home-invasion cases typically are tough to crack.

"Usually, the victim isn't familiar with the suspect and we only have a vague description to go on," he said. "Having extra evidence is very helpful."

In the March 31 robbery, a man in a brown work shirt arrived at the home of a woman who had been expecting a plumber, records show. According to police, the man spoke with the woman about plumbing repairs, made phone calls from her home and watched TV with her before lifting her out of her chair and throwing her down her basement stairs. He tied her up, then stole the woman's wedding band, two other rings and $200 from her wallet, police said. Police said that the woman chewed through the ropes with which she was bound, crawled up the basement stairs and called a neighbor for help. She has been in the hospital since the incident, police said.

On Monday in Reisterstown, a woman told police that a man came to her door that morning with a handgun, forcing his way inside and demanding money, according to charging documents. The woman was tied up, and the man took jewelry, a telephone, $800, cameras, men's clothing and a World War II handgun, police said. The man put the items in the woman's suitcases, then stole her white Toyota Avalon, police said.

Once the car's tracking system was activated, police found the vehicle parked in Baltimore. Police saw the suspect getting into the car, according to the charging documents.

He was found with a gun and jewelry, police said. Johnson told police that he purchased the car, gun and jewelry from another man.

Johnson is charged with attempted first-degree murder, robbery, armed robbery and second-degree assault, police said. His bail was set at $1 million, according to police.

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