Baltimore police believe they might have thwarted a killing Wednesday when they tracked down a 17-year-old Bolton Hill boy who had been abducted while on his way to school and was being held for ransom in a vacant dwelling in Southwest Baltimore.
About 9 a.m., an officer was flagged down by a man who said his son had been abducted. As he was talking to police, he received a call on his cell phone from his son's number, and on the line was a man who demanded $50,000 and two "bricks," a term typically used to describe a large package of drugs.
"I told you, I want $50,000 and two bricks, or I'm gonna start cutting off his fingers!" the man said, according to charging documents.
As officers interviewed the father, police in the Southwest District fielded a crucial phone call. An anonymous caller had observed three men enter a vacant dwelling in the 100 block of S. Catherine St. in the Shipley Hill neighborhood, and one of them had a bag over his head and was in handcuffs.
Patrol officers went to the block, looking for vacant houses with entry points. They heard a noise inside one of the houses, and two men bolted out of the front door. After a chase, they were apprehended, and the 17-year-old, dressed in his yellow-and-blue school uniform, was later found in the basement of the house.
The boy said his abductors approached him from behind as he walked to catch a bus on North Avenue, threw a sweat shirt over his head and forced him into a vehicle.
"We feel like we prevented a homicide," said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.
Police identified the pair as Travis Shears, 20, of the 1800 block of N. Fulton St. and Anton Eastman, 19, of the 2900 block of Westwood Ave. They were charged with kidnapping, extortion, assault and false imprisonment. Moses said detectives were continuing to investigate the circumstances that led up to the abduction.
Records from Gunstat, the city's program to track individuals charged with gun crimes, show Eastman was charged at age 16 in April 2007 with attempted first-degree murder and handgun charges, a case that was waived to juvenile court, where records are sealed. But in August 2008, he was charged with possessing a handgun and was found guilty, receiving six months in jail, records show. He has been arrested at least twice this year, on drug and theft charges.
Shears pleaded guilty to robbery in September 2008, receiving a 10-year sentence. Nine years and a day of that sentence were suspended because of witness problems, prosecutors said.