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Sneak thief is expanding his territory Police come close to catching culprit in Lindamoor; Stolen car abandoned; Open doors, valuables left in view offer targets to prowler


A thief who has robbed at least 17 homes in Severna Park, Millersville and Arnold since December now has taken his sneaky ways to a neighborhood just outside Annapolis where at least two homes have been robbed, county police say.

The burglar has been preying on citizens in upper-class communities who leave doors open and purses or wallets in sight, police say.

Officers just missed the man Thursday when he abandoned a 1986 Ford Taurus in a private drive on Wilson Road in Lindamoor on the Severn and ran away.

"Normally, he would try doors and enter if he found a door open," said Sgt. Craig Korvin, who has been tracking the culprit since he began robbing Severna Park homes in December. "A couple of times, he's gone so far as to throw an ax or some type of tool through a glass door. He would normally not do that unless he saw a purse or a wallet in plain view."

The robber usually only gets away with petty cash and sometimes a few valuable items, Korvin said.

The thief goes door to door through affluent neighborhoods between 2: 30 a.m and 4: 30 a.m., creeping through back yards, peeping in glass doors, twisting knobs and tugging latches, often while the residents sleep, police say.

Officers have found footprints in the snow and purses or coats emptied of cash dropped where yards back up to woodland, and one person saw a man unscrewing a backyard light bulb. But police have never come as close to catching the culprit as they did Thursday.

A resident in Lindamoor on the Severn called police about 2: 45 a.m. to say that a suspicious bronze Ford Taurus was on Cove Cork Lane near Lindamoor Drive. The resident gave police a tag number, and on the way there officers learned that the car had been reported stolen Jan. 5 in a burglary at a home in the 200 block of Lower Magothy Beach Road in Severna Park.

An officer saw the car leaving Lindamoor on the Severn on Wilson Road, but by the time the officer turned around, the driver had switched his lights off, pulled into a private drive and run away, police said.

Inside the car, police found five shotguns, a rifle, a video camera and a sledgehammer. The guns -- worth $2,300 -- and the video camera were later reported stolen from two homes in the 1800 block of Lindamoor Drive, police said.

Both homeowners said that doors to their homes were unlocked.

The thief, apparently aware that police were not on his track, struck again about two hours after he abandoned the car, police said.

Shortly before 5 a.m., an alarm went off at a home in the 1800 block of Carriage Drive. Susan J. Weintraub told police her husband found nothing out of the ordinary when he checked the house, but when she got up later that morning, she discovered that her purse, containing $60 in cash and gift certificates worth $80 from Graul's supermarket, was missing from the kitchen. Weintraub called police later that day.

After word of that robbery got around the neighborhood, Aimy T. Dhillon, also of the 1800 block of Carriage Drive, reported to police that someone had walked through her open garage doors to the unlocked door that leads to the kitchen and stolen $18 from her purse Feb. 1.

Police said residents should lock doors and keep valuables out of sight. Korvin also suggested that they install security lights out of reach of robbers.

Pub Date: 2/16/97

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