Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The perils of a small business in Baltimore

Buz has learned through experience that most small businesses in Baltimore (and probably in most big cities) will eventually be victimized by crime, particularly robbed physically using force or threat of force, or broken into--burglarized.

Recently spoke to an attorney who told me that his office was in a "zero" crime happening very quiet and peaceful area of North Baltimore. In June his office was broken into overnight, the perpetrators wearing gloves. They took several desktop computers and several laptop computers, and various other electronics and various other valuable property. It was not just the theft of the machines which were a modest financial hit, but like many small business owners, sensitive personal information for his clients/customers were on the machines. He also learned that the keys to a storage locker nearby were taken, along with the pass code.

He called the storage place, and had the pass code to get into the yard and building changed. But, lo and behold, here they come up to the gate on camera and pushed and entered and fooled around with the key pad trying to get into the storage unit yard. Were these guys bold or what?

Now, the camera at the storage place got a pretty good picture of the driver's face, his tattoo, and best of all the tag number of the car. Sounds like enough for a search warrant to me. And, the storage firm had an auction that day of stuff from units that had not paid rent. These auctions allow anyone to come into the yard to look at the stuff for sale. These guys were on camera coming back, wandering around, but couldn't get into the building (the padlock on the storage unit had been changed, but......)
Despite the film being held for them, the city burglary unit detectives still (burglary happened in June) have not gotten around to following up. Now, we know their job is mostly pushing paper and "clearing" cases on paper, but here's one which not only might be solved, but these guys, if arrested, might lead to solving other cases in North Baltimore--big commercial burglaries. Wonder what's up? And why no movement here. Lawyer friend is very frustrated.


buzoncrime said...

Oh, and today's paper talks about the robber who hit lots of businesses in less than 3 weeks. We then learn, once again, that sentencing by some judges in Baltimore becomes a "paper chase", the judges give these semi-serious sentences, then suspend all but a pittance, then give them credit for time served. All of this does a disservice to the community. I guess one could understand if it were drugs, but robbery?

Robbery is one of the crimes Baltimoreans fear most, and it doesn't take a law school graduate (maybe it would be better if it were not a law school graduate) to determine that someone is a repeat serial offender.

ppatin said...


There's something I've been wondering about, and I figured I'd check if you'd heard anything about it. It's not exactly Baltimore related, but close enough.

As you presumably remember a CO at the Maryland House of Correction was murdered back in early 2006. The AACounty SA's office filed capital murder charges against two inmates, but after lots of wrangling and accusations of CO corruption the case still has not made it to trial. I was curious and ran the names of the two inmates through MD Judiciary Case Search, and as far as I can tell the case against them has been Nolle Pros'd. Has the state of Maryland actually allowed to inmates to get away with murdering a prison guard? Just figured I'd check if you'd heard anything.

buzoncrime said...

pp---I had not heard anything about this case, either, and like most of us was figuring it was making its way thru our criminal justice system bye and bye.
But what you have found out, if true, is very distressing.
Does it appear that these were the murder charges which were np'd? Were there, perhaps, hopefully, other similar charges refiled later? I'm no expert on Md. Judiciary Case Search, but I do know that it's not perfect; sometimes stuff is either left out or hard to interpret.
I'm on vacation now in Cape May, and reading at an internet cafe.

Perhaps you could run the victim's name and he may come up, or the investigating officer in the murder case's name might be helpful as well.

In the worst case, the identification of the killer(s) and/or the investigation was such that the evidence against these two clowns was such that AA decided to drop the case. (Unlike the city, AA Co. would only drop the weakest cases like that.)

I remember when officer McGuinn was killed, that the scene was chaotic, dark, hellish, with the still present inmates yelling and throwing things at the State Police Investigators and lab techs. Plus, remember about the knife suddenly appearing when it was "dropped in an opening in the cellblock floor"?

Buz smells a quiet "coverup", wherein because of prison corruption, excessive force, and "planting" of evidence. Perhaps the killers of this CO-Officer Homeland Security, the inmates called him will never be avenged? Hope I'm wrong there.

ppatin said...


I'm aware of MD Judiciary Case Search's limitations, so I'm hoping that that's what I'm running into, but at least as far as I can tell from the information in there no new charges have been filed. I wrote an e-mail to Peter Hermann suggesting that the Sun do a story on it, since IMO the un-prosecuted murder of a CO is certainly newsworthy.

There were some rumors going around that McGuinn's murder was ordered by other COs, so maybe the charges against the killers were dropped in exchange for their testimony? The recent "reforms" to the death penalty which have made capital cases essentially impossible to prosecute probably haven't helped, since both of McGuinn's alleged killers were already serving life sentences. Without the DP there's not much the state can do to them except keep them in isolation at Supermax for the next few decades.

buzoncrime said...

PASCAL---there's also the possibility that CO's, for whatever reason, drummed up false evidence against these two inmates. And that's why the charges were nolle prossed. In any event, I agree: it's certainly a story the Sun should be writing about. I'm going to write Justin Fenton also.

About the death penalty: Although it is repugnant to do, and should be used sparingly and with care, I think it is important that society get catharsis for crimes which impact the very core of a society. Otherwise, the society itself becomes weak, undermined, and unstable. Certainly the killing of a Correctional Officer by an inmate is worthy of the death penalty, as well as killing a state's witness. If these two particular types of crimes do not provoke a strong response, criminals have little compunction to wreak their havoc on all of us.

Believe: Vernon "Machine Gun" Evans knew exactly what he set out to do at the Warren House that night many years ago. The idea that bad upbringing, bad neighborhood, associates, a variety of health problems, etc. should mitigate his intention to eliminate a witness is laughable--for example.

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