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Police and Fire News

Baltimore County Police and Fire News

Official News Blog of Baltimore County police, fire, homeland security and emergency management. Call 911 to report crimes in progress and emergencies.
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April 19 through April 25 is National Victims’ Rights Week. Through various events, the Baltimore County Police Department, volunteers and community members will bring attention to crimes such as domestic violence, college campus safety, bullying, and crime prevention techniques, as well as elder abuse and relationship abuse.

The following is a list of the precincts and the events scheduled for Victims’ Rights Week.

Precinct 1/Wilkens

Event: Displays will be set up on domestic violence and brochures will be available to take away.

Location: Baltimore County Public Library in Arbutus, 855 Sulphur Spring Road, 21227

Date/Time: April 20 to April 24

Contact: Sgt. Harpster, 410-887-1584

Precinct 2/Woodlawn

Event: Displays will be set up on crime prevention and brochures will be available to take away.

Location: Food Court at Security Square Mall, 6901 Security Boulevard, 21207

Date/Time: April 22, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Contact: Sgt. Askew, 410-887-4714

Precinct 3/Franklin

Event: Community members are invited to join officers to plant flowers in remembrance of crime victims.

Location: Precinct 3, 606 Nicodemus Road, 21136

Date/Time: April 20, 10 a.m.

Contact: Sgt. Ledley, 410-887-6985

Precinct 4/Pikesville

Event: Displays will be set up on domestic violence and brochures will be available to take away.

Location: Stevenson University, 1525 Greenspring Valley Road, 21153

Date/Time: April 20 to 23, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Contact: Sgt. Ramirez, 410-887-6775

Precinct 6/Towson

Event: Displays will be set up on domestic violence and brochures will be available to take away.

Location: Baltimore County Public Library in Towson, 320 York Road, 21204

Date/Time: April 19 to 25

Contact: Sgt. Fink, 410-887-5933

Precinct 7/Cockeysville

Event: Community members are invited to join officers to plant flowers in remembrance of crime victims.

Location: Precinct 7, 111 Wight Avenue, 21030

Date/Time: April 19, 10 a.m.

Contact: Lt. McGraw, 410-887-1863

Precinct 8/Parkville

Event: Displays will be set up on crime prevention and victim safety. Brochures will be available to take away. McGruff will also be attending this event.

Location: YMCA, 8910 Waltham Woods Road, 21234

Date/Time: April 25, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Contact: Sgt. Dupree, 410-887-5439

Precinct 9/White Marsh

Event:  We will be collecting canned goods and other non-perishable food donations to be given to the Garden Village Community Center. Food collected will be distributed to local families.

Location: Precinct 9, 8220 Perry Hall Boulevard, 21236

Date/Time: Donations will be accepted at the precinct from April 19 to 25

Contact: Sgt. Mickle, 410-887-5035

Precinct 11/Essex

Event: We will be collecting donations for the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence. The shelter is in need of toiletries, adult and child clothing – including undergarments, non perishable food/snack items, and diapers.

Location: Collection boxes will be distributed to various locations in the precinct.

Date/Time: April 19 to 25

Contact: Sgt. Maddox, 410-887-0232

Precinct 12/North Point

Event: Displays will be set up on domestic violence and brochures will be available to take away.

Location: Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center, 323 Sollers Point Road, 21222

Date/Time: April 19 to 25

Contact: Sgt. Stelmak, 410-887-7336

Baltimore County Police have charged an Essex man with trying to solicit a minor for sex.

On February 10, the man began on-line communication with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl. The man identified himself as a 40-year-old male named Marc. He asked the girl what she liked to do sexually and if they could meet at her house or go to a “cheap motel”.

The man agreed to pick the girl up at a public location in Baltimore County on April 8. When the man arrived at the agreed upon location, he was met by police and taken into custody. A search incident to his arrest revealed that the man had two condoms in his pocket.

The person the man had been communicating with on-line was actually an undercover Baltimore County Police detective.

Detectives later served a search and seizure warrant at the man’s Essex home where they recovered a laptop, external hard drive, and two handguns.

The man has been identified as 40-year-old Marc Edward Butt of the 1000 block of Mace Avenue 21221. He has been charged with sexual solicitation of a minor, attempted second-degree rape, and attempted third-degree sex offense. He was released on $150,000 bail.

This incident remains under investigation by the Baltimore County Police Crimes Against Children Unit.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on Marc Edward Butt to contact police at 410-307-2020.

Booking Photograph with Marc Edward Butt

Photo of Nicholas Michael Ishmael, a BCoPD civilian employee charged with theft from evidence room. Baltimore County Police have arrested and charged a BCoPD civilian employee with stealing drugs and money from the BCoPD evidence room at the Public Safety Building in Towson.

Nicholas Michael Ishmael, 20, of the 7900 block of Westmoreland Avenue, 21234, was arrested yesterday at BCoPD headquarters and has been charged with 10 counts, including conspiracy to commit theft from $10,000 to $100,000; theft from $10,000 to $100,000; possession of narcotics; and possession with intent to distribute narcotics. Ishmael, a cadet, was released today from the Baltimore County Detention Center, where he had been held on $650,000 bail.

Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson said at a press briefing this afternoon that he ordered an audit of all 182,400 pieces of evidence in the evidence room as soon as he learned that the evidence room may have been compromised. He also ordered a review of all policies and procedures pertaining to the evidence room.

Over the past few weeks, officers – Executive Corps commanders, Internal Affairs officers, Criminal Investigation Division officers, Narcotics detectives and others – have spent thousands of hours, sometimes working around the clock, on the evidence room case.

At this point, Chief Johnson said, the investigation shows that the theft of items from the evidence room is the work of one individual – Nicholas Ishmael. Ishmael was served with termination papers today.

“This is a serious internal issue,” Chief Johnson said. “To say that I am deeply troubled by this serious breach is an understatement. Our citizens depend on this agency to solve crimes and make sure that criminals are successfully prosecuted, and I want them to know that we have devoted and will continue to devote all possible resources to investigating this situation.

Also, Chief Johnson said he is “disappointed that the conduct of one employee could reflect badly on this agency and the 2,500 BCoPD officers and civilians who work with integrity every single day.”

The Investigation and Audit

BCoPD became aware of a problem in its evidence room in early April, when a Homicide Unit detective tried to retrieve drug evidence for a case that was being tried in Circuit Court. When the drugs could not be found, the Chief’s office was notified, and Chief Johnson immediately ordered an internal investigation and comprehensive audit. The audit is supervised by Colonel Joseph Burris. The internal investigation remains ongoing.

The internal investigation led detectives to Ishmael. At that point, the Narcotics Section joined Internal Affairs in a weeks-long criminal investigation that included surveillance of the evidence room and of Ishmael and two family members. Two of Ishmael’s cousins also face drug charges.

The ongoing criminal investigation shows that Ishmael stole cocaine, morphine, Oxycodone and Alprazolam with a street value estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars. Detectives also found $40,000 in cash, stolen Tuesday and in Ishmael’s possession when he was arrested. The evidence was stolen from 15 narcotics cases, including one homicide case. (The homicide is the November 25, 2012 shooting of Alsawab Sawab in Towson.)

There may be additional charges against Ishmael.

Police do not believe that other cadets or officers were involved with Ishmael in the thefts, nor is there any indication of any technological or procedural failures in the evidence room. “We are confident that responsibility for this breach rests with one civilian employee,” Chief Johnson said.

BCoPD’s exhaustive audit began shortly after the first theft was discovered and has involved thousands of hours of investigation. Just in the past 24 hours, officers have examined 8,000 cases. All but four of those cases – which involve $450 in cash unaccounted for – have been reconciled. There is no evidence at this time that Ishmael is involved in those cases, but the investigation continues.

An additional 19,000 cases still must be audited.

About BCoPD Evidence Management

The Evidence Management Unit is responsible for the safekeeping, proper storage, records management and disposal of all property and evidence delivered to the Unit.

Staffing of the unit includes a lieutenant, a sergeant, a corporal, three officers and three cadets.

The evidence on hand includes 182,400 items, including 21,700 pieces of drug evidence, 4,500 guns and 2,750 money cases. All evidence is tracked through an electronic bar code system, a system that was instrumental in helping detectives link Ishmael to the thefts.

A quality control team conducts random, unannounced sampling audits. In addition, evidence room supervisors conduct unannounced monthly audits throughout the year. Based on the fact that these audits did not reveal any problems, as well as the fact that hundreds of cases are pulled each week for court use or disposal, police do not believe that Ishmael’s stealing began in August, when he was assigned to the evidence room.

About the Cadet Program

Cadets are civilian employees, ages 18 to 21. They often (but not always) use the position as a path toward a career in policing. Chief Johnson began his career as a cadet.

BCoPD currently employs about 40 cadets, assigned to entry-level tasks throughout the agency. They are subject to the same background checks as sworn officers, as well initial and random drug testing and a polygraph and a psychological examination. Ishmael’s background check was “uneventful,” Chief Johnson said.

Cadets have been employed in the evidence room for decades. Chief Johnson said this is the first case involving a cadet stealing evidence from the BCoPD evidence room.

Cadets assigned to the evidence room are responsible for retrieving evidence from what essentially is a large warehouse for officers and detectives when they need it; the cadets also return evidence to its proper place in the evidence room when detectives and officers return it.

Nonetheless, Chief Johnson said that all evidence room procedures, policies and equipment will be closely reviewed as a result of the Ishmael case.

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