Foot patrols to increase in Towson County police act after rash of armed robberies


The Towson business district will see a marked increase in police officers on foot after a string of armed robberies last week, Baltimore County police said yesterday.

Capt. Roger Sheets, commander of the Towson Precinct, also told a group of Towson area community and business leaders yesterday afternoon that preliminary discussions on the creation of a police task force for the York Road corridor are under way.

The civic leaders attended a crime forum sponsored by County Executive Roger B. Hayden at the Towson Library.

The task force, an idea being discussed by Captain Sheets and Capt. John Gaither, commander of the Cockeysville District, would combat a rash of crimes -- especially armed robberies of convenience stores -- along York Road from the Baltimore City line to Cranbrook Road in Cockeysville.

Captain Sheets said officers from the Tactical Unit and some precinct officers would be temporarily assigned to foot patrol duties in the Towson business district.

He couldn't say exactly how many foot patrols would be used or when the extra patrols would start.

"We're still working that out," Captain Sheets said. "The number of special foot patrol officers will depend on the hour of most need."

The decision to assign officers on foot patrol occurred after three armed robberies in the vicinity of the 400 block of York Road, Captain Sheets said.

Those robberies included:

* The armed robbery of the Towson Bootery around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Four gunmen entered the store wielding shotguns and escaped with an undetermined amount of cash.

* The armed robbery of the NationsBank at 32 W. Pennsylvania Ave. at 10:05 a.m. Thursday.

* The armed robbery of two Cockeysville residents at Shealy and Delaware avenues just off York Road around 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

The announcement of the foot patrols was welcome news to Pete Karsos, whose family owns the County Restaurant in the 400 block of York Road.

"When we came to Towson in 1968, there were foot patrols in the business district," Mr. Karsos said. "The foot officer knew the shop owners so well that all they had to do is glance into a shop and they would know if something wasn't right. We need that kind of feeling of security today."

A meeting is scheduled Thursday between police and the Towson Business Association to discuss crime issues.

Towson community leaders also said they would like to see foot patrols in neighborhoods and quicker police response times.

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