Anne Arundel County police yesterday charged an Elkridge man they believe is the "gentle burglar" with seven break-ins in that county.
They are the latest in a string of charges against the suspect, including six break-ins in the east Columbia section of Howard County and nine in Baltimore County.
The "gentle burglar" gained entry to businesses by prying the molding off doors and removing windows, police said. He would steal money and candy.
In most of the Anne Arundel cases, the burglar would replace the glass in the door when he left, police said.
"He was a gentle burglar," said Anne Arundel Detective Vaughn Dykes. "I told him how a lot of people wanted to shake his hand because he didn't do a lot of damage to their businesses."
Charged in the Anne Arundel burglaries was Patrick Francis Alfaro, 34, of the 6500 block of Huntshire Drive,
In Howard County, Mr. Alfaro was indicted Nov. 2 on multiple counts of burglary and theft in six break-ins in early October at businesses along the Route 108 corridor in east Columbia.
Police said the burglar removed glass from doors or windows and did some "minor ransacking" at some businesses before taking money from cash boxes, desk drawers and charity boxes.
Mr. Alfaro remained in custody at the Howard County Detention Center yesterday.
Police say the burglary spree began in late August. Mr. Alfaro was arrested by Howard County police Oct. 17 at the White Elk Motel, in the 6100 block of Washington Blvd. in Elkridge.
Inside the hotel room, police said they found a case of Goobers candy, loose hard candies, a microwave oven, a stereo, costume jewelry, several bottles of shampoo, rolls of coins and bags of snacks and packs of chewing gum.
Mr. Alfaro was charged with possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia after detectives found crack cocaine and a smoking pipe at the motel, police said.
Police said they believe he was also involved in other burglaries in Anne Arundel, Carroll and Montgomery counties.
Mr. Alfaro became a suspect in the Howard County burglaries after investigators matched his fingerprints with those found at the businesses, according to court records.