2 Unlicensed Cabbies Slain

Links Sought

April 21, 2009|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,justin.fenton@baltsun.com

City homicide detectives are investigating possible links between the recent deaths of two men believed to be unlicensed taxi cab drivers, sources said.

The shootings took place over the course of four days last week and within about a half-mile in East Baltimore. Police believe the victims - ages 63 and 78 - were "hacks," or unlicensed cab drivers, though it is unclear whether they were transporting or seeking passengers at the time they were killed, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it.

The latest occurred Saturday, when Calvin Hayes, 78, was found about 6:50 a.m. sitting inside a blue Cadillac suffering from gunshot wounds to the upper torso. The vehicle was in the 2100 block of N. Wolfe St., near Clifton Park.

On April 15, less than a mile away, a 63-year-old man was found behind homes in the 1800 block of Aiken St., sitting in a black vehicle with a gunshot wound to the head. Police responded about 1 p.m., and the man, whose identity was being withheld pending notification of his next of kin, was pronounced dead about a half-hour later.

Though illegal, hacking is commonplace in major cities, especially in poor neighborhoods where residents often lack transportation. Would-be passengers can often be seen standing on street corners, waving their fingers at noncabs.

Police say hacking can be dangerous for drivers and customers alike. Though the Police Department does not keep statistics, there have been numerous reports of hacks being killed while transporting passengers, and many other crimes often go unreported.

In 2003, a 67-year-old hack was robbed and killed in West Baltimore after he picked up a passenger on North Avenue, police said.

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