Restaurant manager stabbed in robbery


A Denny's restaurant manager who was stabbed repeatedly during a brazen daylight robbery was in critical condition last night at Maryland's Shock Trauma Center, authorities said.

The manager, identified by police as Michaele Frederick of North East, walked out of the restaurant in the 8000 block of Belair Road about 9:30 a.m. to make a deposit at a bank, said Cpl. Michael Hill, a county police spokesman.

The 51-year-old man had just opened the driver's door of his Chevrolet Tahoe when the robber approached and stabbed him, Hill said. Frederick continued to struggle with his attacker for about 40 yards across the Denny's parking lot until the robber pushed the manager up against a parked pickup truck, where the manager was stabbed repeatedly.

The robber fled with the cash that the manager was going to deposit at the bank, Hill said. Police believe the robber left in a light-colored, older model Nissan Maxima.

The manager stumbled up the steps near the back door of the restaurant, where he was found by employees, Hill said. He was taken by a helicopter to Shock Trauma, where he had surgery yesterday afternoon, Hill said.

Investigators suspect that the manager had been targeted by the robber, who apparently knew the approximate time when the manager would be leaving the restaurant to go the bank, said Hill.

Hill said that police did not recover the weapon but did tow the manager's sport utility vehicle and the pickup truck to check for evidence.

Waitresses leaving the restaurant yesterday afternoon declined to comment about the incident. The Denny's outlet is less than a half-mile from the Beltway on a busy stretch of road, lined with shopping centers, car dealerships and other restaurants. The restaurant was closed later yesterday.

"This is not a place noted for problems," said Hill.

However, yesterday's stabbing was not the first violent crime at the restaurant. About three years ago, a gunman robbed the eating place, and in 2002, a 21-year-old man was stabbed during an early-morning fight on the parking lot, according to news reports.

Police asked anyone with information to call 410-307-2020.

Laura Barnhardt

Orphans' Court

Banks named to fill vacancy

A former assistant to Maryland's transportation secretary was appointed yesterday to fill a vacancy on Baltimore County's Orphans' Court.

Robert J. Banks was named by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. as an associate judge of the part-time probate court, which handles the administration of estates and wills.

Banks has served since 2004 as senior director of the Canton Group, a systems engineering and consulting firm. Before that, he worked as special assistant to the state's transportation secretary, coordinating the department's response to the 2003 blizzard that hit Maryland.

Banks is one of four Republican candidates facing off in the September primary for three seats on the county's Orphans' Court. There are 12 Democratic candidates in the election. The top three vote-getters in each primary will advance to the general election in November.

Jennifer McMenamin


Fines proposed for tardy projects

A Baltimore County lawmaker has introduced legislation that would set fines for property owners who fail to complete construction projects on a timely basis.

A county code enforcer would issue a warning notice and then daily fines of $200 to property owners who are failing to complete construction with "reasonable diligence," said Councilman Kevin Kamenetz.

Kamenetz said some property owners in his district have stopped construction in the middle of projects, and he suspects the reason in some cases is financial.

"The end result is an eyesore and an open danger," said Kamenetz, a Pikesville-Ruxton Democrat. "People can fall in and hurt themselves" at the construction sites.

The bill, introduced last week, is scheduled to be discussed at an Aug. 29 work session and would face a vote Sept. 5.

Josh Mitchell

Corruption probe

Man charged in UMBC scheme

A 53-year-old Catonsville man accused of bribing a construction manager at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County has become the fourth man charged in the attorney general's continuing investigation into corruption at the college.

Joseph D. Cheek was charged last month with bribery, accused of giving the construction manager materials and labor for a new basement bathroom and heat pump at his home in exchange for steering the university's building projects to Cheek's former employers, Bell Mechanical Services and Banks Contracting Co. Inc. , according to the attorney general's office.

Cheek is also accused of contributing money to the construction manager's golf vacation as part of the bribery scheme, which began in January 2000 and continued for nearly four years.

Two others charged in the investigation have pleaded guilty to related charges, according to the attorney general's office.

Jennifer McMenamin

Carney, Cub Hill

Building-ban extension proposed

A moratorium on construction in the Carney and Cub Hill areas would be extended through the end of the year under legislation introduced recently by a Baltimore County Council member.

The extension is needed so that the community and county planners can have more time to complete a long-term growth plan for the area, said Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, a Towson-Perry Hall Democrat. The moratorium has been in place for about a year, Gardina said.

The bill, introduced last week, is scheduled to be discussed at an Aug. 29 council work session, with a vote scheduled for Sept. 5.

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