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Sip & Bite owner handcuffed, beaten by 2 men in apartment above diner Investigators suspect that robbery was motive


Two men wearing uniforms resembling those worn by Baltimore police officers forced their way into a Southeast Baltimore apartment yesterday, handcuffed the owner and repeatedly beat him, police said.

George Vasiliades, 53, who owns the Sip & Bite diner in the 2200 block of Boston St., was treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital for injuries to his head and face and released late yesterday.

Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a police spokesman, said investigators believe that robbery was the motive.

But they were unsure if anything had been taken from the apartment -- above the diner -- because interviews with Mr. Vasiliades were incomplete.

Police said the two men knocked on Mr. Vasiliades' door about 7:15 a.m. and identified themselves as city officers. The victim escorted them to his upstairs apartment, where he was handcuffed behind his back and beaten with fists, police said.

Before leaving, police said, the men bound Mr. Vasiliades' feet and mouth with duct tape. Detectives did not know if the men -- one of whom wore a ski mask -- were armed. They escaped in a red Chevrolet, police said.

Mr. Vasiliades was able to loosen the duct tape and stumble downstairs to his restaurant, where a worker called police at 7:40 a.m.

Agent Weinhold said that before allowing a police officer into a home, residents should make sure the officer has a department-issued photo identification tag. Skeptical residents also can call the district to which the officer is assigned for further verification.

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