A gunman marched into a Canton bar Tuesday night, held up patrons and stole money from the cash register hours after a fund-raiser for a former city politician, city police and witnesses said yesterday.
Former Del. Frank D. Boston Jr., who was raising money at Dooby's Bar and Grill to pay off campaign debts from his failed 1998 run for the state Senate, was forced to give up his wallet, police said.
John A. Hubble, the city's new real estate officer, witnessed the 11 p.m. holdup, in the 3100 block of Elliott St., but was not robbed. City Councilwoman Lois Garey, who represents the 1st District, left before the robbery. "I'm still in one piece," Garey said yesterday. "And I still have my $5 bill."
Shawn Allen, the bar's manager, said most of the patrons had left - the fund-raiser lasted from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. - when a man wearing a sweatshirt with the hood over his head walked in and announced the robbery.
A police report says a man with a mustache put a plastic bag on the bar and pulled out a large handgun. He pointed the gun at the eight patrons and said, "Give me the cash," the report says.
Allen said the bartender handed over about $1,500. The police report says the gunman then pulled back the slide on the automatic handgun, preparing it to fire, and said, "Now, give me the real cash."
Police said four of the eight patrons handed over money before the gunman ran out of the establishment. No money from the fund-raiser was taken, attendees said.
Last month, Allen said, a man with a similar description held up another area bar. "This had nothing to do with the fund-raiser," Allen said.
Police said that they are investigating possible similarities between the holdups but that there is no indication of a serial robber.
Boston, a former three-term delegate who headed the city's House delegation, lost a costly, bitter election for a Senate seat three years ago to Clarence W. Blount, the powerful Senate majority leader. Boston challenged Blount in court, failing to prove that the veteran West Baltimore legislator did not live in his district. He alleged that Blount's Northwest Baltimore apartment was just a mail drop.
The state's highest court ruled that Blount's name could remain on the ballot, reversing a lower court that said overwhelming evidence showed Blount did not live in his district. Boston said at the time that the suit cost him $30,000.
Boston did not return calls seeking comment yesterday. His son, Frank D. Boston III, a city lawyer and police union lobbyist who left the event before the holdup, said his father was raising money for retirement and to pay off campaign and court debts.
People who attended the fund-raiser would not say how much it cost to attend or how much money was raised. Police said yesterday that they had made no arrest.