News from around the Baltimore region

August 20, 2005


Teen tied to painted racial slurs, swastikas

Anne Arundel County police have arrested an Arnold teenager suspected of spray-painting racial slurs and swastikas around the Mago Vista section of Arnold.

Police said that between Monday and Wednesday more than a dozen homes, garage doors, fences, cars and businesses were vandalized with red spray paint. A 16-year-old was charged Thursday with 14 counts of destruction of property, police said.

The vandalism came during the same week that county officials and community organizations formed an umbrella group to help combat hate crimes and the distribution of white supremacist leaflets.

The teenager was not accused of violating the state's hate crime law. The spray painting was not considered a hate crime because after questioning the victims and the youth, officials suspect the vandalism was done at random and no one was targeted for their race or religion, said Kristin Riggin, spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office. Also, the victims, both black and white, told police they did not feel targeted, she said. However, the county's hate crimes prosecutor will review the case next week.

The teen was arrested at his home, and police seized his shoes, which had what appeared to be red spray paint on them. He was released in the custody of his mother, police said.

-- Andrea F. Siegel


Divers recover woman's body under pier at marina

A Pasadena woman was found dead yesterday under a pier by divers, Anne Arundel County police said. The cause of death was under investigation.

Linda Alia Simmont, a quadriplegic, was last seen by several residents Thursday afternoon around the Ventnor Marina, near her home in the 8000 block of Ventnor Road, authorities said.

Her caregiver reported Simmont missing Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The report was called in three to four hours after Simmont failed to come home from her usual self-guided ride around the waterfront neighborhood in her electric wheelchair, police said.

County police and fire officials, working with a state Department of Natural Resources marine unit, began a search of the Ventnor Marina area by ground, air and water. The search lasted until 3 a.m. yesterday, yielding no sign of the missing woman.

At dawn yesterday, the search resumed. More than five hours later, at 11:20 a.m., a county Fire Department diver discovered Simmont's body submerged at the end of a pier, along with her wheelchair.

There are no indications of foul play, police said.


Closures set to begin Aug. 29 on portion of railroad trail

A portion of the Northern Central Railroad Trail will be temporarily closed several times a day starting Aug. 29 to allow work to proceed on a project to replace bridges carrying Interstate 83 over the trail, state highway officials announced.

The portion of the trail under the bridge will be closed for up to 30 minutes at a time, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., for about a week, according to the announcement from the State Highway Administration.


State begins lane closures on stretch of eastbound U.S. 40

Lane closures began yesterday on eastbound U.S. 40 in Catonsville as a $5.3 million project for a new interchange at the Baltimore Beltway began.

The project will alter the existing interchanges from U.S. 40 to Interstate 695 -- two ramps from U.S. 40 to I-695 will be removed. Traffic signals and two left-turn lanes will be added to U.S. 40 for drivers entering I-695. The purpose of the project is to reduce congestion and improve safety, according to a statement from the governor's office. Sidewalks will be added to U.S. 40 as well.

The first round of closures started yesterday from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. today, said Kellie Boulware, an SHA spokeswoman. In the fall, motorists will see more lane closures as signals are installed, and then the closure of the ramps as they are demolished. The work is expected to be completed by next summer.

-- Anica Butler


Police Athletic League center reopens Monday at new site

The Lansdowne Police Athletic League center will reopen Monday at a new location, on the grounds of Lansdowne Elementary School, 2301 Alma Road. The public is invited to a reopening ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the center. Free membership in the Police Athletic League is available to Baltimore County residents 8 to 17 years old. Information: 410-887-5892.


Two men arrested, 69 firearms seized

Baltimore police detectives arrested two men Thursday and seized 69 firearms, including a mini-Uzi, a MAC/10 with silencer and a pistol designed for shooting big game.

Anthony Felicetti, 47, of the 1300 block of Delwood Ave. in Hampden, was charged with multiple counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, police Col. Anthony Barksdale said. He did not release information on the other suspect yesterday.

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