Crime Watch

CRIME WATCH

April 12, 2006

Effigy is investigated as a `racial incident'

Anne Arundel County police said they are investigating as a "racial incident" the hanging of an effigy of a black man from a bridge that crosses Route 2 in Edgewater.

The effigy was found Thursday hanging from a footbridge that connects two portions of the South River Golf Links, according to authorities.

The effigy was "like a scarecrow" - and was dressed in blue jeans and a shirt, said Anthony Lloyd, one of several people who saw it. The face was painted black and it was hanging from a noose, Lloyd said.

Lloyd immediately called 911 when he saw the effigy at 10:30 p.m., and he said that the dispatcher was aware of it from other calls. Lloyd said a county police officer removed it at 11 p.m.

"I went to college in the South and I never saw that kind of stuff there, then to come here, in the suburbs of D.C. and see that - it was disappointing to see that," Lloyd said.

Sgt. Shawn A. Urbas, a spokesman for the county police, said the incident is under investigation and there are no suspects.

Employees reached last night at the golf course said they were unaware of the incident.

Edgewater, south of Annapolis, has been the scene of racial and religious tension in the past. Three years ago, police investigated three acts of vandalism - graffiti depicting swastikas, racial slurs and death threats - at South River High School.

Last week, the Maryland Court of Appeals heard arguments in a case that will decide the fate of a historically black college's new satellite campus in Edgewater. The communities fighting the building are mostly white, though residents say their case is about a developer violating a covenant on the land.

Annie Linskey

Anne Arundel County police yesterday identified the man they found dead this week in a wooded area in Crownsville.

The body of Kirk Steven Fischer, 55, of Annapolis was found near the 600 block of Woodsman Way at 2:30 p.m. Monday after a search that started Sunday when they found some of his belongings near the woods. They used dogs and helicopters in the search.

County police said that no foul play is suspected, but they said they were waiting for the state medical examiner to finish an autopsy.

Fischer, who was schizophrenic and had not been taking medication for the condition, had been reported missing last month. He was last seen at about 4 p.m. March 21 at Annapolis Mall, police said.

"It is very sad news," said Jennifer L. Molloy, executive director of Arundel Lodge Inc., a psychiatric rehabilitation home where Fischer had lived since 1999. Fischer checked himself out of the home last month, and Molloy said that she, along with Fischer's family, reported him missing then.

"He just left against our wishes. ... He didn't tell us where he was going," Molloy said. "Sometimes when people don't take their medication they can be unstable. We were concerned and worried.

"We're not a lock-down facility. If the individuals don't want to stay, they don't have to," she said.

Annie Linskey

Woman jailed in bank fraud

A 28-year-old woman from Owings Mills received a 1 1/2 year prison sentence in federal court yesterday after she admitted that she and her husband stole more than $400,000 from her husband's employer.

Saratou Stewart, 27, and her husband, Ronald, pleaded guilty in January to bank fraud. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz also ordered Saratou Stewart to pay restitution to cover the losses.

According to the statements of fact presented by prosecutors, the Stewarts concocted and carried out a fake accounting scheme to defraud Citi- Financial Inc. from September 2003 until October 2005.

Ronald Stewart, who worked for CitiFinancial, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and was sentenced March 15 to more than two years in prison.

Matthew Dolan

Man indicted in drug case

A federal grand jury indicted a 29-year-old Northeast Baltimore man yesterday on charges that he grew and sold large quantities of marijuana.

According to court documents, local and federal law enforcement agents searched the home of Long Thai Huynh, in the 7700 block of Daniels Ave. on March 15 and recovered more than 200 marijuana plants, equipment for growing marijuana, a money-counting machine, packaging equipment, cell telephones, identification cards and tally sheets said to show drugs sales of more than $300,000. Also recovered was more than $5,000, court documents show.

If convicted, Huynh could face a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a minimum mandatory sentence of five years. Huynh had been detained since his arrest last month but was ordered released on electronic home monitoring yesterday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan K. Gauvey after a bail review hearing.

Matthew Dolan

Robbery suspect indicted

A man shot during the attempted robbery of a gas station owner on his way to make a $5,900 bank deposit at the Village of Cross Keys last month was indicted by a city grand jury yesterday on armed robbery, handgun and other charges, according to State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy.

Another man was fatally shot during the incident March 17 in the 5100 block of Falls Road.

Corey A. McLeaurin, 29, of the 3400 block Gwynns Falls Parkway was wounded when the gas station owner pulled his registered pistol and opened fire. McLeaurin is being held without bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

The fatal shooting is under investigation by Jessamy's office. The gas station owner has not been charged.

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