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Man charged in 7 robberiesA 35-year-old man...


Man charged in 7 robberies

A 35-year-old man has been charged with robbing seven financial institutions, two of them directly across the street from his home, police said.

Eric Xavier Clifton of the 5600 block of The Alameda was arrested Wednesday in the 700 block of E. 20th St. by police and FBI agents, said Sam Ringgold, a police spokesman.

Mr. Ringgold said authorities identified the suspect through pictures that had been taken during the robberies.

The first robbery occurred April 7 when a man who claimed to be armed robbed the Maryland National Bank in the 5600 block of The Alameda, Mr. Ringgold said.

He said the other robberies occurred April 22 and May 19 at the Liberty Federal Savings and Loan in the 5600 block of The Alameda across the street from the suspect's home; April 27 at the First National Bank in the 1700 block of E. Northern Parkway; April 30 at the Atlantic Federal Savings and Loan in the 3300 block of Belair Road; and Maryland National banks May 4 in the 8500 block of Loch Raven Blvd. in Baltimore County and May 11 in the 1500 block of Havenwood Road.

Police said that when a man went into the Liberty Federal Savings and Loan on The Alameda Tuesday, he claimed he was armed and said, "Let's do the same thing we did last time."

The owners of a Brooklyn Park car wash have proposed a golf driving range and pro shop at Md. 100 and Mountain Road in Pasadena.

Richard A. Fine, whose family owns the Ritchie Car Wash, is seeking a special exception to allow a "commercial recreational" facility on 32 acres zoned for low-density residential development.

The facility would include 40 permanent tees, an 18-hole miniature golf course, batting cage and pro shop, county records show. The owners would provide 138 parking spaces, four more than required by county law.

Residents in the small Bell Forest community may oppose the project, said Buck Tucker, a past president of the Bell Forest Homeowners Association. He said he and his neighbors are worried about light and noise from the driving range disturbing their neighborhood.

The residents also fear the golf park could become a nuisance at the heavily traveled intersection of Md. 100 and Mountain Road.

Finally, the residents wonder if the county approves a driving range in a residential area, will it later approve other commercial uses, Mr. Tucker said.

Under county zoning law, animal hospitals, child-care centers, campgrounds, kennels and heliports also are permitted with a special exception in a "residential low density district."

An administrative hearing officer is scheduled to listen to the request at 10:30 a.m. June 9 in the Arundel Center in Annapolis.

Mr. Fine said his father, Morris Fine, bought the heavily wooded property about 20 years ago.

Baltimore County:

May 25 is considered the official Memorial Day holiday by Baltimore County government this year, but that date also is the last of five furlough days for county employees -- except for library workers.

Libraries will be closed May 25, like the rest of county government, and June 1 as well. Library workers have more furlough days than do other county employees, and June 1 will be the final library furlough day this fiscal year.

Furlough days were imposed as a way of saving $12.5 million this year to help make up for state cuts to local government budgets.

Carroll County:

Residents in need of transitional housing may get a helping hand if the county commissioners agree to move seven county-owned homes to a lot on Kriders' Church Road, off Md. 97.

Jolene G. Sullivan, director of the county department of citizen services, has suggested the buildings -- purchased when the Carroll County Regional Airport/Jack B. Poage Field was expanded -- could house people who have exhausted their stay at homeless shelters or simply need time and services to become self-sufficient again.

The homes could be divided in to about 15 apartments, forming a "hamlet" that could provide services such as transportation, day care, job and life skills or counseling, Ms. Sullivan said.

A state transitional housing grant could provide the $680,000 to buy the land, move the houses and renovate them, while the county could apply for federal money to run the programs for up to five years, she said.

Harford County:

People and events notable in Aberdeen's 100-year history will be portrayed in an original play with traditional music and dance at 8 p.m. May 27-29 at Aberdeen High School as part of the city's centennial celebration.

The play, "Pride In Our Past, Faith In Our Future," takes a time-traveler on a trip from the future back through Aberdeen's history with the help of two "Time Conductors." Set at a railroad station, the play shows Aberdeen in the past, the present and beyond.

Rousing musical numbers with traditional and popular music are part of the show, which is being presented in conjunction with Aberdeen's Centennial Celebration. The cast and crew is made up of Aberdeen and Harford County residents

Tickets are $2 for adults and $1 for students and senior citizens, children under 12 are admitted free. For more information, call 273-7611.

Howard County:

A pharmacist accused of setting a series of fires in Howard and Baltimore counties was charged yesterday with setting fire to his former home in Baltimore, authorities said yesterday.

James Francis McManus, 33, who lived in the first block of N. Prospect St., Catonsville, was picked up by city police at the Baltimore County Detention Center and charged with setting a fire sometime between Jan. 18 and March 12 at his former home in the 700 block of N. Chapelgate Lane. Baltimore police spokesman Sam Ringgold said the house was vacant and little damage resulted.

Mr. McManus is awaiting trial on charges of setting fires in Catonsville, Ellicott City and Columbia.

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