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Metro Briefs

- The Washington Times - Friday, June 29, 2007

VIRGINIA

BURKE

Spider-Man bandit suspect caught

Fairfax police think they have captured their Spider-Man bandit.

The suspect was wanted in a robbery Monday of a grocery store pharmacist in Burke. The pharmacist said someone entered the pharmacy area of the Giant grocery store and demanded the painkiller OxyContin.

After getting the drugs, the suspect left the store wearing a Spider-Man mask.

The escape of the masked suspect was caught on the store's surveillance camera.

A police spokeswoman said a tip linked the suspect to a possible vehicle used in the robbery. At about 2 a.m. yesterday, officers stopped a car driven by Dave Edward Wolfe, 25, of Burke. He has now been charged with robbery.

MANASSAS

Sex assault suspect arrested in New York

A Woodbridge man accused of sexually assaulting a young girl was arrested in New York.

Kwame Boateng, 43, disappeared before police could serve him with an arrest warrant last weekend. He is accused of luring an 8-year-old girl into his apartment last Friday. Police said the girl was sexually assaulted while inside.

Investigators said Mr. Boateng had assaulted the girl on several occasions since September 2004.

Deputies from the U.S. Marshals Service located Mr. Boateng in New York and arrested him Wednesday.

MARYLAND

OXON HILL

Lightning strike kills teenager

A teenage girl hit by lightning Wednesday afternoon died of her injuries.

The parents of Shaneeka Cannon, 18, identified their daughter as the person struck after taking refuge under a tree during a storm.

Prince George's County fire department officials said Miss Cannon was waiting for a bus on Kennebeck Street when she ran under a tree to get out of the rain. The lightning struck the tree, then hit her.

A Potomac Electric Power Co. crew was nearby and performed CPR on Miss Cannon until paramedics arrived. She was taken to Greater Southeast Community Hospital, where she died.

WHITE MARSH

Toll lanes expected to ease I-95 traffic

Maryland State Highway Administration officials hope express toll lanes under construction on Interstate 95 north of Baltimore will make the highway safer and less congested.

The $900 million Express Toll Lanes Project will add two new express lanes in each direction. It will run for 10 miles through the most congested portion of the highway north of Baltimore from Interstate 895 north to State Route 43.

There also will be improvements to the main roadway, reconstruction of bridges and adjustments to interchanges.

Toll rates have not yet been set, but officials said they will likely change depending on the time of day.

WALDORF

Suspect arrested in apartment arson

A two-alarm fire that damaged several units of an apartment complex was arson, fire investigators said.

Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Dwayne Svites said a suspect was taken into custody and was being questioned by authorities.

The blaze was reported about 4:20 a.m. yesterday. It began in a second-floor unit of an apartment complex in the 2100 block of Crain Highway.

Charles County spokesman George Clarkson said two persons suffered hip and back injuries and bruises when they jumped from the building to escape the smoke and flames. They were being treated at hospitals.

Several units in the complex suffered smoke and water damage.

Man pleads guilty to inappropriate film

A Salisbury man pleaded guilty to inappropriately filming swimmers at a meet in Lancaster County, Pa.

On June 16, parents at a swim meet at the Woodridge Swim Club in Lititz, Pa., noticed that Thomas Vernon Bartow, 34, was filming but that he was not cheering for anyone.

Police found more than 30 minutes of footage taken by Bartow that focused on the swimmers' crotch and buttock areas.

Several parents told police that they had noticed Bartow at previous swim events. Bartow was fined $421.

ROCKVILLE

Black bear wanders through neighborhood

A black bear was seen wandering through the Beverly Farms neighborhood.

Police said they received three reports between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, all in the area near Coldstream Drive.

Although county police and Maryland-National Capital Park Police officers could not find a bear, police say it is possible there could be one.

Black bears looking for unoccupied territory have been regular visitors to Montgomery County for the past several years.

State wildlife officials say black bears are largely vegetarians and attacks are extremely rare. In Maryland, there are no known cases of a black bear attacking a human.

DUNDALK

Daycare center closed amid abuse reports

State officials have closed a Dundalk daycare center for 30 days while reports of abuse are investigated.

Baltimore County police said a former employee at Jack and Jill Child Care Center contacted police to report that a child had been bound by tape at the center and that children were put into a dark basement.

A police spokesman said investigators have identified a 4-year-old who was taped to a chair or cot, but no charges have been filed against daycare providers.

An official with the state Department of Education's Office of Child Care said staff found enough evidence during an inspection this week to warrant the closure after receiving a report of possible abuse.

The operator has 72 hours to appeal the 30-day closure.

OCEAN CITY

Dolphin count finds fewer off coast

An annual dolphin count in Ocean City turned up 17 dolphins along the resort coastline Wednesday, down sharply from the 158 dolphins spotted last year.

Officials with the Baltimore National Aquarium, which holds the dolphin census every year, said the drop likely was nothing to be alarmed about. The count is usually done in July. This year, it was held before many dolphins start migrating.

About 30 volunteers joined aquarium staff to search for dolphins for three hours along 26 miles of coast.

"All of the animals found stranded on Eastern Shore beaches are migratory," said Hillary Bates, aquarium spokeswoman. "We are really interested in their migration pattern. It's a barometer of their population."

The dolphin count is not scientific. But officials say it helps gauge whether the Ocean City channel is still a large migratory route for dolphins.

FREDERICK

Convicted teacher fired after sentencing

The Frederick County school board has fired a sixth-grade teacher who wrote threatening notes to five students, a day after a judge sentenced her to nine months in jail.

The board voted Wednesday night to terminate Michelle J. Dohm, 42, from her job teaching social studies at Thurmont Middle School.

Dohm, a 20-year employee of county schools, had been suspended without pay since fall 2005. Jamie Cannon, an attorney for the school system, said the board can no longer employ Dohm because the conviction voids her teaching certification.

Dohm was convicted by a judge in April of sending letters that threatened death by explosives.

Although she agreed to a statement of facts that included handwriting analysis and a microscopic comparison of fibers in postage stamps, she has maintained her innocence.

BALTIMORE

Mom says story of sparkler not true

The mother of a 9-year-old Chester boy who received serious burns on his hands and legs when a sparkler set his clothes on fire said an older boy shoved the sparkler into her son's pants.

The state Fire Marshal's Office said Wednesday that Amanda Bell's son, Austin Fisher, put the lit sparkler in his pants himself.

Miss Bell said her 8-year-old son was there and helped his brother put out the fire.

Austin's mother said he suffered third-degree burns to his legs and second-degree burns to his hands. He was flown to the Johns Hopkins Burn Center in Baltimore, where he was scheduled for surgery yesterday.

Miss Bell said investigators did not interview her sons and relied on bad information from neighborhood children.

Deputy State Fire Marshal W. Faron Taylor said if new information is appreciably different from the initial information, then they will follow it through.

REGION

Jury recommends death for two-state shooter

A jury in Georgetown, Del., yesterday unanimously recommended the death penalty for a man convicted in a two-state shooting rampage that left two persons dead and four wounded.

Allison Lamont Norman, 25, of Seaford, Del., will be sentenced Sept. 28 by Judge T. Henley Graves, who, under Delaware law, must give the jury's recommendation "great weight."

The jury convicted Norman last week on 10 counts, including first-degree murder in the death of Jamell Weston, 24, of Laurel, Del., in the April 2005 rampage that stretched from Laurel to Salisbury, Md.

Jurors rejected defense arguments that Norman was mentally ill and thought he was protecting children from aliens from outer space when he donned a bulletproof vest, armed himself with a 9mm handgun and started shooting.

The night before the shootings, Norman saw an episode of the "X-Files" and became convinced aliens were after children, according to trial testimony.

Friends also testified that after Norman was shot outside a convenience store in October 2004, he became extremely paranoid, carried a gun, regularly wore a bulletproof vest and abused drugs.

Prosecutors attributed Norman's bizarre behavior to chronic drug use, not mental illness.

From wire dispatches and staff reports