A man wearing a black ski mask forced his way into the West Baltimore home of former U.S. Rep. Parren J. Mitchell early yesterday and stole money from the 74-year-old, who tried to fight the intruder.
Police were searching for witnesses yesterday and had not made any arrests. Mitchell said in an interview that he was confident the criminal would be caught. "The police do a pretty good job of tracking people down," he said.
It was the second time this year that Mitchell's rowhouse across from Lafayette Square has been burglarized. In February, someone broke in while the former congressman was sleeping and stole his wallet and a videocassette recorder.
Mitchell, a member of a high-profile political family and known for keeping vigils on drug corners to force dealers out, vowed never to move from his home of 10 years. "You can't let people run you out of your home," he said. "You have got to fight back."
Western District Lt. James Hawkins described Mitchell's neighborhood as diverse. Looking out his front window, he said, you see a park, churches and a senior citizens' home. "Take a look out the side window, then you get a view of the drug dealers a block or two away," he said.
Mitchell said he was in his kitchen about 2: 30 a.m. when he heard glass shatter in the living room. He walked to the next room and said he saw a man wearing a black ski mask trying to crawl through a window.
"Mr. Mitchell states he hit the suspect several times to prevent him from entering," the police report says. "He then stated that the suspect climbed his way through the window and stated, 'Give me some money.' "
"I said, 'Go on, take it,' " said Mitchell, who handed the man $160 from his wallet. "I had run out of steam by then."
A year ago, Mitchell complained at a news conference that his work to oust drug dealers had accomplished little, but he was willing to give his life to save Baltimore.
Yesterday, Mitchell said he hasn't "seen much progress." Persistent crime, he said, is "irritating and frustrating. You just keep on fighting the good fight."
Pub Date: 8/14/96