Stymied in their efforts to crack a recent wave of daytime break-ins that included the assault of an elderly woman, Baltimore County police are asking for help from residents of several neighborhoods south of Towson.
The area, which includes Rodgers Forge, Stoneleigh and Anneslie, has had 23 reported house break-in since late March -- only nine fewer than in all of last year. And last month in Wiltondale, a 77-year-old woman who surprised an intruder was assaulted, robbed of $40 and left bound with her own clothing.
More than 200 area residents of the neighborhoods near the city-county line attended a meeting Wednesday, as police officials sought to calm fears.
"We're going through a tough period," Maj. Johnny C. Whitehead, commander of the Towson police precinct, told the gathering at Dumbarton Middle School.
Investigators say they believe that the man who assaulted the elderly woman is responsible for at least one more break-in, but that another man is suspected of other area break-ins. The most recent break-in was June 6 in Anneslie.
No arrests have been made. Police have identified no suspects, but they have descriptions of two people believed to be responsible for break-ins. One is a white male, 18 to 25 years old, 5'9" to 5'11," thin with sunken cheeks, pale skin and short brown hair. The suspect was seen wearing a backpack.
The assailant in the attack on the elderly woman was described as a black male, 18 to 25 years old, 6' to 6'3," medium complexion with a mustache and goatee and medium length dark hair.
Major Whitehead described the attack as an attempted rape. He said some residents apparently were under the mistaken impression that the woman had been raped. N
Detective Ed Spragg said the thieves typically have entered homes through doors or windows. Police have increased patrols in the area, using marked and unmarked cars, Major Whitehead added. The thieves have been stealing mostly jewelry and electronics, he said.
"Those of you who have busybodies in your neighborhoods, they are our biggest allies," said Officer John Reginaldi.
Major Whitehead confirmed that an Anneslie man reported being robbed at gunpoint about 9:30 a.m. June 9 near his home. Major Whitehead said the victim believes he was followed from a shopping center on York Road.
Detective Spragg said anyone with information should call police at 887-2361.