Woman is abducted from work at gunpoint


A man who police say abducted a woman from her Howard County workplace at gunpoint yesterday morning as dozens of horrified co-workers watched was captured several hours later in Rockville. The woman was not hurt.

Howard County police charged Miguel Angel Diaz of Bladensburg with kidnapping, false imprisonment and other violations after he allegedly forced his estranged girlfriend - 41-year-old Marisabel Garcia of Bladensburg - into a 4 1/2 -hour trek across county lines.

Police said the daytime abduction began at Professional Mailing & Distribution Services in an industrial park near Savage, where Garcia is a warehouse worker.

Diaz, 32, walked into the large gray building through a side door about 10:15 a.m. and demanded that Garcia leave with him, police said.

She refused to go, and a supervisor tried to intervene. Police said the short, slim man then pulled out a dark-colored semiautomatic handgun and dragged the struggling woman out into the parking lot in front of about 100 employees.

"There's kidnappings and abductions in the county, but what's unusual about this is it happened in the open," said Sgt. John Superson, a Howard County police spokesman.

Diaz forced Garcia into a red 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier Z-24 and drove off, police said.

His car was gone when officers arrived. But they tracked him down through a tip from his employer, police said.

Staff at Ourisman Chevrolet in Rockville told officers that Diaz, who worked in the body parts and shop department, had called to ask about his check. Fifteen undercover detectives from Howard County, Montgomery County and the Baltimore division of the FBI staked out the dealership.

Just before 2:45 p.m., a man driving a Honda Accord stopped at the dealership, in the 15300 block of Frederick Road, and picked up Diaz's check.

Sitting next to the driver was Diaz, with Garcia in the back seat.

Detectives followed the Honda to a gas station at Route 355 and Gude Drive, where the driver stopped, and they converged on the car.

"Victim's fine; the suspect did not resist arrest," Superson said. "It's a successful closure."

Diaz was being questioned at Howard County's Southern District yesterday. He was also charged with first- and second-degree assault and weapons violations.

Court records show one minor criminal conviction for Diaz, in 1993, for drinking from an open container.

The man driving the Honda was being questioned by police yesterday. Police did not release his name and said they did not know the man's connection to Diaz.

Officers towed the Honda to police headquarters and were searching for the Chevrolet.

Tim Lawrenson, general manager of Ourisman Chevrolet, said Diaz had worked there for the past year - but after yesterday is no longer an employee.

"He seemed like a normal person," quiet and a good worker, Lawrenson said.

Professional Mailing & Distribution Services President Rita Hope Counts said none the company's other employees was injured. The firm is a 12-year-old mail-order distribution and warehouse storage company that has 120 employees in its Savage building, according to records.

"A lot of the co-workers are - and rightfully should be - shaken by this incident," said Superson. "It's pretty frightening: You're there at work, it's a normal Friday, and suddenly there's a domestic incident."

Sun staff writer Larry Carson contributed to this article.

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