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Lawsuit says troopers failed to halt theft at car dealer

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A Mount Airy car dealer and a Kansas-based insurance company want their money back for two pickup trucks stolen three years ago. They claim that two Maryland state troopers at a nearby 7-Eleven store did nothing when a neighbor reported the crime in progress.

Jones Motors Inc. and its insurance company are suing the state on a single claim of negligence in a civil lawsuit filed this week in Carroll County Circuit Court.

The troopers breached the duty owed to the citizens and business owners of Mount Airy "by failing to respond, even cursorily, to the report of possible criminal activity in Mount Airy" the night of Feb. 2, 1996, the suit alleges.

Lt. Leonard Armstrong, Westminster barracks commander, said he had not seen the lawsuit and couldn't comment on allegations against unnamed troopers.

The suit alleges that a Mount Airy businessman located across the street from the car dealership noticed "suspicious goings on and possibly a theft at his store" at 9 p.m. Feb. 2, 1996. A red pickup was parked there and lights were on inside the store, the suit said.

The businessman found two troopers at the convenience store, told them of the suspicious activity, then returned to wait for them, the suit says. He saw the red truck and a second white truck drive off. The troopers never arrived, according to the suit.

The next morning, it was found that two trucks had been stolen from the car dealership in the first block of East Ridgeville Road.

The Jones company is suing for payment of its $1,250 insurance deductible, and Universal Underwriters Insurance Co., of Overland Park, is seeking repayment of its $34,349.02 loss, plus interest and court costs.

Pub Date: 2/05/99

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