Burglary trails lead to candy raps

The Baltimore Sun

They weren't caught with their hands in the candy jar, police say, but the woman smeared with fudge and the teenagers' trail of Kit Kat wrappers came mighty close.

Twice in one week in Anne Arundel County, authorities have arrested people who allegedly became burglars to satisfy a late-night sweet tooth.

Annapolis police say a 35-year-old Greenbelt woman broke into a downtown fudge store last week and was found at a nearby hotel crying and bewildered, with sticky fudge coating her arms and shirt and unwrapped bricks of fudge spilling out of her pockets.

And four teenagers were arrested early yesterday after a police dog followed a trail of candy wrappers from a Pasadena gas station to a home, authorities said. The alleged culprits were surrounded by more packages of candy and cigars.

"This is definitely one of those [crimes] that should go under the 'stupid criminals' category," said Cpl. Mark Shawkey, a county police spokesman. "There's no payoff here, just a burglary conviction on your record."

In the Pasadena break-in, BP station manager Stuart Powers said burglars kicked in a panel at the front of the store in the 8500 block of Fort Smallwood Road. They stole Kit Kat bars, cigars and chips, he said.

"Mostly odds and ends," Powers said before offering an expletive-laced suggestion on how he'd like to punish the offenders.

Police responded to the scene about 1:30 a.m., and a dog followed the scent of the suspects and the trail of candy wrappers to Kim Marie Court and Cottage Grove Road. There, they arrested three 15-year-olds - two boys and a girl - and a 16-year-old boy. They were charged as juveniles with second-degree burglary and theft under $500.

The Annapolis incident was far more bizarre, police said.

Bob Lawinger, who owns Uncle Bob's Fudge Kitchen, said surveillance video that began when the store was closed late on July 31 shows a woman who appears to be intoxicated carrying an armful of stuffed animals taken from a nearby stand. That's when she eyed the candy case.

For the next 40 minutes, he said, she wolfed down about a half-pound of rocky road fudge, then s'mores and peanut butter treats. Apparently full, she stuffed more candy into her pockets and bags. Throughout the video, he said, she repeatedly fell down, at one point leaning on a table with wheels that rolled away.

"Usually those videos show a 20-year-old kid stealing from me," Lawinger said. "To watch a drunk trip all over herself and put fudge in her pants, that really was a laughing matter."

Just after midnight Aug. 1, the clerk at the Maryland Inn on Church Circle reported that Catherine Mooney Delgado had walked into the lobby and said that she had been sexually assaulted.

The responding officers determined her claim was unfounded but "noted that she had a large amount of chocolate fudge in her pockets," said Officer Hal Dalton, the spokesman.

"That was an indication to look into it a little further," Dalton said.

An officer was sent to Lawinger's store on Main Street and found it unlocked. The owner later arrived and said a large amount of fudge - an estimated several hundred dollars' worth - was missing.

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, police said, Delgado went to the women's restroom where she was found trying to flush the fudge down the toilet. She later told police she did not recall being in the store.

She was charged with burglarly and theft under $500, Dalton said. She was being held yesterday at the Jennifer Road Detention Center.

"It's a drag - the cost to repair the case, and the amount of stuff she wasted," Lawinger said. "But watching the video was the funniest thing."


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