Trooper's arrival breaks up stakeout


County police about to pounce on two burglary suspects outside a Mountain Road liquor store early Monday morning got a surprise of their own when their stakeout was broken up by a state trooper investigating the same crime.

The state trooper frightened off the man driving the getaway vehicle. The other suspect walked away from Grand Ritchie Liquors, but officers arrested him anyway because his actions matched those in four previous burglaries at the store, police reports said.

Sidney Larue Craddock, 41, of the 1000 block of Bonaparte Ave. in Baltimore, was charged with five counts of burglary and five counts of felony theft, police said.

Police said he had the identification and charge cards of a man named James Godsey, who had reported the cards, identification and his wallet stolen in December.

Northern District detectives have been investigating a number of burglaries the past several months that involve burglars smashing the front doors of stores and stealing cartons of cigarettes. Grand Ritchie Liquors in the Southdale Shopping Center was the most frequently hit business and lost $5,000 worth of cigarettes in the previous break-ins, police said.

Detectives staked out the store Monday morning, the day of the week and the same time as the previous crimes.

About 12:41 a.m., the officers saw a man in the parking lot walk over to a pay phone and then look around suspiciously. He went to a line of 10 shopping carts and pushed them about 30 feet until they were in front of the store. In the previous burglaries, the bandit used the carts to screen his activities from passing motorists, police said.

Police then waited for the driver of the getaway vehicle to approach the store so they could catch both men at the same time.

But a state trooper from the Glen Burnie barracks was monitoring the county police frequency and heard the call of a burglary in process. Unaware of the stakeout, he pulled up to Grand Ritchie Liquors just in time to break up the burglary and the arrest.

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