A false report that led eight police officers to storm an empty house in search of a phantom gunman and stabbing victim may cost a Glen Burnie homeowner more than $300 in repairs, Anne Arundel County police said yesterday.
The problem began when police received a call about 9 p.m. Friday that someone had been stabbed at a house in the 100 block of Janelin Drive. They were also told that the assailant was a man with a gun, police said.
When police arrived, they received another call from someone claiming to be the gunman. The caller said he could see police through a rear sliding glass door and would kill his victim if they didn't leave, police said. The man also said he had a bomb, police reported.
Patrol officers kicked in the door of the house, but found it empty.
At that point, a 911 dispatcher received yet another call, this one claiming police had the wrong address and that the correct one was two doors away. Officers checked that house and found it occupied by an elderly couple, police said.
As police left the home, Officer James Brown saw two men standing nearby in front of a house in the first block of Crain Court. Believing the prank calls may have been from a cellular telephone, he suggested questioning the pair, police said.
The men, who walked off briskly as the officers approached, were stopped at Crain Highway and Furnace Branch Road. While Officer Brown questioned the pair, Officer Michael Barclay found a 1988 Ford Escort parked on Crain Court. The engine still was warm, and there was a cellular telephone between the seats, police said.
One of the men in custody identified himself as Steven Laurence Smith Jr. of the 2000 block of Citrus Ave. in Jessup. The other identified himself as Jeffrey Arnold of the 7800 block of Telegraph Road in Severn, police said.
The men, both 18, were charged with making a false report, making a bomb threat and destruction of property, police said. The maximum penalty for making a false report -- a misdemeanor -- is a $500 fine and imprisonment for six months, said Gail Watson, the legal adviser for the police department.
Officers secured the damaged door of the house on Janelin Drive. The owner, who was out of town, can file an insurance claim with the county for the damage, said Ms. Watson. Police declined to release the owner's name.
Lt. Robert Johnson, a district shift supervisor who was on the scene, said police broke into the house on Janelin Drive because the lights were on, a call to the house was not answered and the caller's telephone number could not be determined because he used an operator.