Two arrested in metal theft at closed state hospital

(Maryland State Police )
May 16, 2012|By Peter Hermann

A day after Baltimore County police set up a task force to target metal thieves who strip homes and businesses, tactical officers found themselves surrounding an abandoned state hospital building where two men were trying to steal copper pipes.

Someone called about two suspicious men in an asbestos-laden building at Spring Grove State Hospital in Catonsville on Tuesday afternoon. The bystander saw the men carrying crow-bars and saws into the building, closed since 1974, according to Maryland State Police.

A police officer with the hospital reported seeing one man on the ground floor and another climbing into the attic. Police said they quickly arrested man on the first-floor, the other escaped into the attic.

After a standoff with police that lasted a few hours, authorities said the second suspect surrendered. Police said heavily-armed tactical officers and dogs were about to swarm the building when the suspect called his girlfriend in Dundalk.

Police said the man told his girlfriend he could see police out of a small portal in the roof, and he jumped to the ground and was arrested. Police identified the suspects as Matthew R. Blizzard, 29, of the first block of Wade Ave. in Catonsville, and Dennis W. Dyer, 43, of the 8100 block of Mild Haven Road in Dundalk.

Each were charged with second-degree burglary, theft, destruction of property and three counts of a theft scheme.

Earlier this week, Baltimore County Police teamed up with BGE to announce a new task force to combat the problem. BGE is painting some of its copper wires lime green so that operators at recycling plants know what they are and that they've been stolen.

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