Police use phones to hunt for suspected cat burglar


Baltimore County police began using the telephone Monday along with reward money to flush out a suspected Towson cat burglar thought to be responsible for as many as 60 break-ins and believed to be hiding in North Baltimore.

As of yesterday, the county Police Department's automatic telephone dialing system had called about 1,400 homes in Waverly, Charles Village, Clifton Park and several other neighborhoods with the message that Anthony Ray Westmoreland is a wanted man and was last seen in those areas.

"This is an important message about crime in your community," the recording says. "Metro Crime Stoppers, in conjunction with Baltimore City and Baltimore County police are offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Anthony Ray Westmoreland."

The recorded message describes Westmoreland as a light-skinned black man, 32 years old, weighing 140 pounds and 5 feet 11 inches tall. It also gives the phone numbers for Metro Crime Stoppers, 276-8888, and the city Police Department, 396-2433.

This is the first time that police have used the computer-assisted automatic dialer in an attempt to catch a criminal, said Bill Toohey, a Baltimore County police spokesman. The system usually is used to warn residents of crime trends in their neighborhood.

Toohey said detectives hope that if Westmoreland is staying with a friend or relative in one of the homes that were called, he will be turned in.

"This is to make Mr. Westmoreland uncomfortable and force him out," Toohey said.

Westmoreland has been charged in warrants with breaking into 11 homes in the Towson and Overlea areas and stealing $20,000 in property. Detectives identified him last month from evidence taken from the homes and pawnshop records.

His last known address was in the 1500 block of Taylor Ave. in Parkville.

Pub Date: 12/18/96

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