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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.
Date: Nov 2, 2017

Theft by deception is a technique often used by criminals to obtain money or identifying information willingly from victims, most often our more vulnerable citizens, often the elderly. Most people have become aware of scams involving phone calls or emails requesting identifying information or confirmation of bank account numbers, some asking the victim to wire money to a stranger in need, sometimes to someone claiming to be a relative. In the last couple of months Baltimore County has experienced a new type of telephone scam, one that is terrorizing it's victims.

Since September police have been notified of at least six incidents where a stranger has called and claimed that he had kidnapped a family member and demanded a ransom be wired. The frightening aspect of this has been that the caller knew names and information about the family member, making the claim appear real. The caller has demanded that the ransom be paid by wire, immediately, while he is still on the phone, in an attempt to keep the victim from checking on the family member before obtaining the money.

All of these calls have been determined to be false calls, and all have been linked back to numbers that appear to originate from Mexico. It is important to understand that with the advent of social media, much about our lives can be obtained by strangers, including names, home locations, school locations, even phone numbers, that are allowing these phone calls to initially appear valid. They are not.

It is important to share this information with anyone you think may be vulnerable to such a scam. Never remove money from a bank, wire money, send checks, or supply any personal identification or account information over the phone or on your computer before first verifying that the claim is legitimate.

If you or someone you know receives such a phone call, or any other incident that appears to be a scam or attempted theft by deception, call 9-1-1 and report the incident to police immediately.

Baltimore County Police have charged a couple in multiple thefts from autos, and one theft of a vehicle.

Charles Allen Fry (39) of no fixed address and Lauren Michelle Richardson (30) of the 300 block of Hidden Valley Road in Tracys Landing, 20779, have been charged with multiple counts of theft, credit card fraud, and various other related charges resulting from a string of thefts from autos at County parks that began with the theft of a truck.

The investigation began on September 28 when an officer was called to Honeygo Run Regional Park at 9033 Honeygo Boulevard in White Marsh after a woman found the window to her Jeep broken out and her purse stolen. An hour later the same officer responded to Perry Hall Park at 9650 Honeygo Boulevard for a theft from another auto. This victim had received an alert on her phone that her credit card was declined at Best Buy at 5200 Campbell Boulevard. She returned to her truck and found that someone had gained entry and stolen her purse.

The investigation determined that another of the victim's credit cards was successfully used at Best Buy and the BP Gas Station at 5250 Campbell Boulevard. While police conducted their investigation, so did the victim, taking to Facebook for answers. She soon received an anonymous tip, identifying the suspects as Fry and Richardson. The police investigation confirmed this information.

On October 11 a Baltimore City officer stopped a Ford F-150 that was reported stolen out of Baltimore County. It was occupied by Fry and Richardson. Fry stole the truck on September 24 from the NCR Trail parking lot on Paper Mill Road by using a key left in the vehicle. Items stolen from the White Marsh thefts were found inside the truck, along with drug paraphernalia and tools used for breaking into vehicles. Other property was also found in the truck that may be from additional thefts.

Detectives have identified similar incidents that have occurred at Honeygo Park, Perry Hall Park, and LA Fitness at 8221 Town Center Drive and continue to investigate to determine if Fry and Richardson are also responsible for those thefts.

The Baltimore County Police Department warns citizens not to leave valuables in their vehicles, locked or unlocked, and never to leave a key to the vehicle or another vehicle inside a car. Places like Gunpowder Park or NCR Trail parking lots where vehicles are left for long periods of time are target rich environments for thieves like Fry and Richardson. Pay special attention to anyone walking around a parking lot that doesn't appear to have a specific purpose for being there. It should be noted that parks like Honeygo and Perry Hall are used for childrens' sports and both were highly populated when these two thefts occurred. Please, remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings; reporting anyone who appears out of place or involved in any suspicious activity. For more information on how to keep your possessions safe from thieves check out the Baltimore County Police website Safety Tips.

The Baltimore County Fire Department reminds residents to check the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when the turn their clocks back this weekend.

Firefighters across the nation suggest that residents check alarm batteries twice a year – in the spring and fall, at the same time we reset our clocks. This year, Daylight Savings Time ends and we "fall back" to standard time at 2 a.m., Sunday, November 5.

Smoke alarms are the single most important means of preventing home fire deaths. They provide an early warning signal if there is a fire so you can escape. Most hardware and home supply stores carry them.

Deadly Odorless Gas

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly odorless, invisible gas produced by fuel-burning appliances. High levels of CO can kill within hours. CO detectors sound an alarm when levels of the gas rise so you can get out of the house, call 911 and discover the source of the problem – before someone becomes ill. Every home should be equipped with CO detectors.

For detailed information, see the Baltimore County Fire Department's fact sheets in the Fire and Life Safety section.

Revised June 27, 2017