July 26, 2008

2 city workers suspended in theft inquiry

Baltimore's inspector general said yesterday that two city employees have been suspended without pay pending termination after a yearlong investigation revealed that they stole copper wiring from city buildings, including City Hall.

Inspector General Hilton L. Green said in a statement that the two employees were seen taking "thousands of dollars" of copper cable from the ceilings of city buildings.

The pair used heavy-duty saws to hack into ceilings, Green said.

That equipment was seized by the inspector general's office, and the pair reported it stolen, Green said.

Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the mayor's office and the Police Department, said the two employees took more than $50,000 worth of wiring and caused nearly $1 million in damage to city buildings.

Annie Linskey



Planning Director McCoach resigns

Douglas McCoach, who has served as director of Baltimore's Planning Department since last year, said yesterday that he has resigned and hopes to return to the private sector.

McCoach, 47, was tapped by Mayor Sheila Dixon for the Cabinet-level job when her mayoral tenure began at City Hall in January 2007. McCoach, an architect, had served as vice chairman of the city's Planning Commission.

"I had made a commitment to be in her administration through the transition period, and I feel like they're up and running and they've got a great team in place," McCoach said. "Baltimore's going to do great."

Among other projects, McCoach has helped steer the city's sustainability efforts and oversee the implementation of its master plan. His department is also in the early stages of a citywide rezoning.

"The mayor has reluctantly accepted his resignation," said Dixon spokesman Sterling Clifford. "We wish him the best, and we'll have a hard time replacing him."

John Fritze Bomb scare Unattended bag proves no threat Baltimore police shut down the area around City Hall yesterday afternoon to investigate an unattended duffel bag on a nearby street. They determined that the bag did not contain threatening materials.

City police, including the bomb squad, and fire officials were called to East Fayette Street, near Holliday Street, to investigate about 1:20 p.m. The street was closed for a few hours. Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman, said he did not know what investigators found inside the bag.


Road closures will cause diversions

The Baltimore Department of Transportation has announced coming road closures.

Harford Road between White Avenue and Echodale Avenue will be closed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. today for the 15th Hamilton Festival. Hamilton Avenue will be closed at Harford Road.

Tomorrow, traffic diversions will occur for a firefighters convention parade. The parade will assemble at 7 a.m. on Key Highway between Covington and Cross streets. It will begin at 9 a.m. and proceed on the two eastside curb lanes, north on Light Street, west on Conway Street, and north on Charles Street before disbanding at the Baltimore Convention Center about 11 a.m.

From Monday through Aug. 4, the city will reconstruct the intersection of Howard and Pratt streets. Howard Street will be closed northbound at Pratt, with traffic detoured on Conway Street to Light Street. The two right lanes on Pratt will be closed.

Sara Neufeld

Carroll County


Cat-adoption event being held tomorrow

The Eldersburg Veterinary Hospital will host a cat-adoption event from noon to 4 p.m. tomorrow at 1527 Liberty Road.

Co-sponsored by the Howard County Cat Club and Metro Ferals of Maryland, the event will offer more than 30 kittens and cats for adoption. Potential adopters will be asked to fill out an application, sign a contract and pay an adoption fee of $125 for one cat or $150 for two.

Information: 410-730-3679.

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