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Stoneleigh break-in propels community to reactivate COP program

A recent burglary and an earlier attempted burglary in the Towson neighborhood of Stoneleigh has prompted a push to more quickly reactivate the neighborhood’s Citizen on Patrol program.

According to Baltimore County Police, burglars broke into a house in the 900 block of Old Oak Road May 15 at 4:46 p.m. by using rocks to smash the back window. Police said it was the third of three similar incidents in Towson in less than a month.

Baltimore County Police spokeswoman Julia Hardgrove said police are not yet calling the incidents a trend, but are investigating whether they are related. Police have not yet identified any suspects.

The family was not home at the time, but the homeowner Britney Bove said a neighbor saw someone acting suspiciously around the house and snapped a photo of the car before calling the police.

Hardgrove said the car in the photo was stolen in an armed carjacking in Baltimore City on May 14.

Hardgrove said two similar burglaries occurred both on April 24. Someone broke a rear basement sliding door and stole cash and a computer at a house in the 500 block of Dunkirk Road in Anneslie; and two people tried to break into a back door at a house in the 700 block of Chumleigh Road in Stoneleigh but they were scared off by a homeowner.

Residents say incidents like the burglary and attempted break-in are rare in Stoneleigh. The incidents occurred just as the neighborhood is moving to reinvigorate its Citizens on Patrol program.

Stoneleigh’s Citizens on Patrol head Mark Erdman said the program was inactive until he took it over in January and started organizing patrols. He currently has eight people signed up to volunteer, and they will be training with the Baltimore County Police next Thursday, he said. Erdman said the recent crimes have given him extra incentive to get the program in gear.

“It was a rattling thing to discover that this happened in broad daylight, at 4:30 in the afternoon,” Erdman said. “My kid walks home from school right past that street.”

One it starts, Erdman said he hopes to have volunteers sign up for one-hour shifts to visibly patrol the neighborhood as a deterrent to crime.

Bove said the burglars stole bottles of wine and electronics, including a computer, and her 6-year-old son’s Xbox and baseball bat during the breakin.

But Bove said her son “took it well” even seeing a silver lining in the unfortunate incident. She said her son began walking around the house, pointing out sentimental objects like the bowl he made her, and saying “at least they didn’t take this!”

“We’re all kind of shocked that this happened on our little street,” Bove said, noting that the street is deep inside a residential area, far from a main road.

Bove said that her family will be upgrading their security system and “trying to figure out how we can be more alert and aware.”

She said she was grateful that they were not home at the time and that nobody was hurt, but the incident still worried her.

“There were kids around, people home,” Bove said. “It’s scary how brazen they were.”

asolomon@baltsun.com

twitter.com/libsolomon

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