Baltimore County police charged six people Friday with stealing at least $100,000 in electronic equipment -- and a German shepherd puppy -- from 10 homes in the county in the last two months and suspect them in at least 20 other burglaries.
Michael E. Hayes, 21, of Baltimore, surrendered Friday night to police on the air during a WBAL-TV newscast. Hayes, who told the reporter he was innocent, said he turned himself in on camera because he feared police abuse.
After the interview, city police arrested Hayes, who was charged in a warrant with first- and second-degree burglary in connection with the burglary ring.
Baltimore County police believe the burglaries began Aug. 29 and ran until Oct. 25, with a group of men entering homes by forcing doors open when residents were not there, said Lt. Jerry Foracappo, who leads the burglary unit.
Officials were able to link the burglaries using forensic evidence and witnesses' descriptions of a similar car leaving the various crime scenes around the county, police said. The car was owned by a brother of one suspect, police said.
"They pretty much liked to pick houses they thought no one could see from the road," said Sgt. Jeff Arnold of the burglary unit.
Officials said they recovered a variety of electronics -- mostly computers, telephones and televisions. They also recovered Phoebe, a 16-week-old puppy taken Oct. 13. The dog has been returned to its owner, police said.
Besides Hayes, police charged Charles Lee Pitt, 29, of Baltimore; Keith D. Moore, 28, of Baltimore; Troy L. Brockington, 31, of Randallstown; and Mwalimu Martin, 24, of Baltimore with two counts each of first-degree burglary.
Jamon D. Brockington, 25, of Baltimore was charged with one count of first-degree burglary and one count of grand theft. He and Moore have posted bail. Pitt, Martin and Brockington remained in the Baltimore County Detention Center last night in lieu of bail. Hayes was being held in the Baltimore City Central Booking and Intake Center in lieu of bail.
Police said the men are suspected in the other burglaries because of the method used, the descriptions of suspects and the property recovered, said Cpl. Vickie Warehime, a county police spokeswoman.