Piracy charges close video storeIn what is...


Piracy charges close video store

In what is believed to be the first raid of its kind in Anne Arundel County, police have closed down an Edgewater video store suspected of illegally pirating popular films.

During the raid on Escape Video II in the 1200 block of Central Ave. Wednesday afternoon, investigators confiscated 649 videos that were copied from originals bought from a legitimate distributor, said police spokesman Officer V. Richard Molloy.

Meanwhile, sheriff's deputies in St. Mary's County raided another shop owned by the man who operates the Edgewater store and confiscated $50,000 worth of tapes and equipment used to copy the tapes.

Officer Molloy said the owner of the stores, Bob Waldow of Tracy's Landing, has not been charged, pending a review by state's attorney's offices in Anne Arundel and St. Mary's counties.

Mr. Waldow could not be reached for comment.

At Escape Video in St. Mary's County, deputies found an elaborate taping system that included seven videocassette recorders, a television, a color copying machine, 300 videotapes, about 300 blank tapes and a heat machine for shrink-wrap, said Cpl. John Horne of the Sheriff's Department.

"He was using the heat shrinking machine to wrap the videos in plastic to make them appear new," Corporal Horne said.

The color copier was used to duplicate the labels from the original boxes, the corporal said.

"The ironic thing is," he added, "at the bottom of the receipts he gave to his customers, there was a warning that said it was illegal to copy these tapes."

The investigation capped a two-month probe that began when patrons of the business called the Motion Picture Association of America in Washington and complained of the videotapes' poor quaility.

"Some were fuzzy and went in and out of focus," Officer Molloy said.

Association investigators rented some of the tapes from the store and were able to determine that most of them were pirated, Officer Molloy said.

He said the association then notified police.

Officer Molloy said the tapes were being both sold and rented from the store.

An original legitimate movie costs about $60 from a distributor, he said.

A Baltimore paramedic accused of choking a 101-year-old nursing home resident who hit him while he was treating her was found not guilty yesterday.

Jeffrey N. Fromm, 35, had been charged with battery in connection with the Feb. 3 incident. A Circuit Court jury deliberated a half-hour before acquitting him.

Employees of the Seton Hill Manor nursing home at 501 W. Franklin St. testified that Mr. Fromm became angry when the patient, Hattie McNeal, began flailing her arms and knocked off his hat. But Mr. Fromm testified he was trying to hold down the woman to prevent further injury to her broken hip when his hand slipped.

Baltimore County:

Two women who have accused a Dundalk doctor of raping them could not identify the man yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Although the case against Dr. Leonard C. Harris, 37, lacked fingerprints, DNA or other scientific evidence, the jury would nevertheless become convinced of his guilt, prosecutor Scott Shellenberger predicted.

But Rodney Gaston, Dr. Harris' attorney, said his client was a victim of "sloppy" police work and the desire of prosecutors to convict someone of the rapes.

The two women the doctor is accused of raping last year testified yesterday that they were accosted in their apartments by a man who wore a red mesh T-shirt over his face and threatened them with a pistol. Both women said the attacker tied their hands behind their backs before raping them.

Howard County:

Howard County police arrested three men suspected of breaking into the Ellicott City home of a 62-year-old woman early yesterday morning and forcing her to sign blank personal checks made out for over $1,000.

Charged with armed robbery, burglary, theft, check fraud and assault with intent to murder are T. Hope Cross, 18, of the 700 block of E. 20th St., Baltimore; Brian James Everett, 18, of the first block of Perry Falls Place, Parkville, Baltimore County; and Jeffrey David Wright, 17, of Cedarmere Road, Owings Mills, Baltimore County.

Police said Mr. Everett is the victim's nephew.

Last night, police arrested Mr. Cross outside the Commercial and Farmers Bank in the 8100 block of Main St. in Ellicott City after he allegedly tried to cash a check the victim was forced to endorse.

Later, police went to a house on Daniels Road near Ellicott City and arrested Mr. Everett. Young Wright was arrested at his home, police said.

Police said three males armed with handguns awakened the woman at 4:30 a.m. in her home in the 2300 block of Daniels Road and forced her to sign several blank checks. They they tied her up, ransacked the house and fled in her car, police said.

Harford County:

Fish lifts at Conowingo Dam collected 25,721 American shad during the 1992 spawning run on the Susquehanna River, say administrators of the lifts.

The first shad was caught April 11. The annual operation stopped June 15.

The lifts are designed to attract and collect American shad and river herring. Once collected, shad are sorted, placed in holding tanks and transported by truck about 50 miles upstream above York Haven Dam in Pennsylvania. There they are released in the river to search out historical spawning grounds.

This was the second season during which both lifts were operated at Conowingo. The new $12 million East fish lift collected 15,272 shad this year; the 20-year old West lift collected 10,449.

The 1992 catch was lower than the record of 27,227 last year.

However, this year's total was significantly higher than the 1990 total of 15,964, prior to the completion of the East lift.

Philadelphia Electric Co., which operates the dam, and RMC Environmental Services Inc., the fish lift operator, believe the decline this year was due partly to the life cycle of the shad and partly to weather conditions that kept river flow fluctuating and water temperatures low during the early part of the spawning run on the lower Susquehanna.

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