Baltimore police continue to probe Fells Point attacks

Emergency community meeting scheduled

August 11, 2010|By Peter Hermann, The Baltimore Sun

Community leaders in Southeast Baltimore have scheduled an emergency meeting Monday to discuss a string of street robberies and beatings by gangs of young men this month in Upper Fells Point.

The attacks have unnerved residents and have police scouring the neighborhood west of Patterson Park and south of Johns Hopkins Hospital for leads. They have arrested one man in one attack but are looking for many more accomplices.

Police are investigating at least five robberies since Aug. 2, some of them involving eight to 10 youths or young men attacking people walking alone at night. But detectives have not determined whether the same people are responsible for all the attacks.

Authorities said they are investigating one robbery and beating as a hate crime because one of the black attackers said "[Expletive] you, white boy." But in another holdup, the only one in which a gun was used, police said the attackers were two white men.

The latest attack occurred about 1 a.m. Saturday in the 1900 block of Gough St. Police said one man robbed another man of jewelry at knifepoint.

That does not fit the pattern of gang violence, but it occurred on Gough Street near the scene of the first attack, which was about 9:45 p.m. Aug. 2, when a real estate agent who lives in the neighborhood was robbed by eight to 10 men of his iPhone and money. He was severely beaten.

Less than a half-hour later and a few blocks south on East Lombard Street, police said, a group of men approached a man, demanded his wallet and struck him several times in the face. They took the victim's cell phone, police said.

The attack in which two white assailants used a gun occurred Aug. 3 at Lombard and Chester streets. Later that night, about 9:30 p.m., police said, a white man was attacked by a group of black males in the 300 block of S. Ann St. That case is being investigated as a hate crime.

Police spokesman Jeremy Silbert said detectives "are following up on several leads."

The suspect who was arrested Saturday is identified as Leonard Copeland, 31, of the 200 block of South Herring Court, which is in the Perkins Homes public housing complex just west of Fells Point.

He is being held without bail in the city detention center, charged with second-degree assault, theft and robbery in connection with the Aug. 2 attack on East Lombard Street. Police said they are investigating whether they can link him to any of the other incidents.

The emergency meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Southeast District police station, 5710 Eastern Ave.

peter.hermann@baltsun.com

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