Douglas Legenhausen, a Baltimore County wholesale jewelry dealer, drove into a downtown parking garage yesterday anticipating a pleasant walk in the spring-like weather. But he had no sooner stepped out of his car when he was approached by a gunman and forced into his car's trunk.
"It's probably one of the weirdest things to happen in my life. He tried to kill me," a shaken Mr. Legenhausen said from his North Woods home last night.
Mr. Legenhausen, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds, told the gunman the trunk was too full of camping gear. The trunk also contained a bubble machine he had picked up for a Valentine's Day party.
The gunman took the bubble machine out and took Mr. Legenhausen's wallet containing several hundred dollars, and forced him into the trunk.
They drove up to the roof, but it had been blocked off because it was icy.
The gunman got out of the car, opened the trunk and demanded more money. "That's when I thought he was going to kill me," Mr. Legenhausen said.
The gunman asked Mr. Legenhausen if he had an automated teller machine card. Mr. Legenhausen took out the only other thing in his pocket, an address book, and handed it to him. The gunman pushed him down in the trunk, partially closed the lid and stuck his gun hand into the trunk.
Mr. Legenhausen said he thought the man was going to shoot him and had closed the trunk to muffle the shot. But for some reason, the man pulled his hand out, slammed the trunk shut and drove off.
The car went over a speed bump, causing the light in the trunk to go on. Mr. Legenhausen ripped the cover from the trunk lock and pried off an electrical mechanism, popping open the trunk. As the car moved down the street, "I stood up on my knees and I started waving my scarf and I yelled, 'I'm being kidnapped, call the police!' "
What he didn't know was that several cars behind him was a police car, and behind that was Col. Leon Tomlin, chief of the Police Department's property division, heading for a doctor's appointment. When the car slowed down, Mr. Legenhausen saw his opportunity and jumped out.
He rolled several times, got to his feet and ran to the curb.
"This tells you something about safety downtown," an angry Mr. Legenhausen said.
"There are killers down there in the garages. It shakes my faith. I'll probably pay for this the rest of my life. I'll never be the same again."