Police investigate cases mirroring crime spree


A highly publicized crime spree punctuated by three abductions and a murder has captured the imagination of criminals who have committed three other similar but unrelated kidnappings since Sunday, according to Baltimore police.

The latest attack occurred about 2 a.m. yesterday when a Diamond Cab driver, David Lee Clack, 30, of the 1100 block of Woodyear Street was robbed of about $200 by a passenger who forced him into the trunk of the cab, said Agent Arlene K. Jenkins, a city police spokeswoman.

The cab was abandoned a short time later in the 5500 block of Falls Road. Police were called to the scene by a businessman who heard the victim's screams.

Police are looking for a man last seen wearing a leather eight-ball jacket.

In an unrelated incident, Franklin Smith, 53, told police he was abducted from his apartment in the 1900 block of Park Avenue about 7 p.m. Monday by a man he believed was armed with a handgun.

Police said Mr. Smith was taken to an automated teller machine on East Preston Street, where he was forced to withdraw $60 and give it to the assailant.

The victim then was forced to drive to the 900 block of Whitelock Street, where the assailant -- about 30 years old -- got out of the car and fled, police said.

On Sunday, Deborah Tanya Smith, 33, of the 1600 block of Burnwood Road told police she was abducted by two men, one armed with a handgun, from the Mondawmin Mall parking lot about 6:30 p.m.

Ms. Smith said she was robbed of $400 and driven around for about six hours before she was tied up and locked in the trunk of her car.

The car was left in the 3100 block of Towanda Avenue, where the victim was found after someone called 911 and notified police.

Police said they have no suspects in any of the attacks.

The latest abductions apparently were spawned by three robberies and kidnappings that occurred from Feb. 7 to Feb. 14. Three men were abducted from parking garages in the city during the crime spree, which allegedly was masterminded by Dontay Carter, 18, of Baltimore. The crime spree climaxed with vTC the killing of Vitalis Pilius, 37, of Catonsville.

Carter was arrested Friday. Three teen-agers have been charged as accomplices in the incidents.

Agent Jenkins said investigators did not know why criminals would copy crimes that have resulted in arrests.

"We have no idea what they are attempting to gain by committing a similar crime," Agent Jenkins said, adding: "They are not deceiving the police. We believe we have the ringleader from the earlier incidents."

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