TV sportscaster Mills charged in burglary

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Keith Mills, who has delivered sports news on WMAR-TV for 18 years and has battled drug addiction, was arrested yesterday and charged with the theft of prescription pain killers from his next-door neighbor.

Mills, 48, a sports anchorman, was arrested at his home in the 200 block of Cheddington Road in Linthicum at 1 p.m. and charged with two felony counts of first-degree burglary and two misdemeanor counts of theft, according to charging documents.

The charges carry a maximum combined sentence of 43 years. After a brief hearing in Anne Arundel County District Court in Glen Burnie last night, he was released on $250,000 bond.

According to court documents, the neighbor, who has been undergoing cancer treatment, became suspicious after she noticed a door ajar at her home and pills missing two years ago. She subsequently contacted a relative who works for a security business, who installed a video surveillance system that is alleged to have captured Mills on tape stealing pills last month. She told police Jan. 2, and said that she waited to contact them until after Christmas to spare the arrest of her neighbor over the holiday.

After periodic stakeouts of the woman's house since Jan. 2, police set up a sting yesterday, hiding in a bedroom and seeing Mills in the area of the house at the time that a bottle of pills disappeared, charging documents said. They confronted him at his home and found the bottle with nine narcotic painkiller pills in his pocket, according to the documents. The incident was the basis of the charges.

Mills told police that he was using the pills for a back injury, the documents said.

At his hearing last night, Mills wore handcuffs and ankle manacles, blue jeans, a Preakness sweat shirt and black athletic shoes with the laces removed. He said little, but when asked by William D. Henley Jr., managing commissioner for the Anne Arundel County District Court in Glen Burnie, if he had a drug or alcohol problem, he replied "prescription pain medications."

In November 2004, Anne Arundel County police charged Mills with obtaining a controlled and dangerous substance by fraud. Police said then that he had attempted to illegally call in a prescription for hydrocodone to a Glen Burnie pharmacy.

After that arrest, Mills enrolled in a three-day detox program at Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital and, upon completion, checked himself into a 28-day rehabilitation program at Father Martin's Ashley in Havre de Grace.

In an interview with The Sun published a month after his arrest, Mills said he had beaten the problem and, "It boggles my mind how easy it is to get caught in that trap."

Scott Garceau, another WMAR sports anchor, said last night that he has worked with Mills for nearly 20 years and saw no signs of trouble in recent days. "At this point, I'm just feeling for Keith and his family," he said.

Drew Barry, the station's general manager, did not respond to requests for comment.

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