The Prince George's County Sheriff's Office has arrested two men on felony charges dating back more than 30 years as part of the department's increased efforts to erase a backlog of crimes nearly 50,000 warrants deep, officials said Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Payne said the goal of the agency's warrant squad is to clear the backlog, but members are focused on "individuals who committed felonies and violent crimes, and who potentially represent a danger to the community."
One of the two arrested Aug. 4 was Keith Tinsley, a Mount Rainier resident picked up in connection with a December 1976 armed robbery.
He was arrested without incident on 34th Street in Mount Rainier.
Mr. Tinsley is married now and has a home and a family.
"For this to catch up to him is very sad," Col. Payne said.
Police have identified the other man arrested as Glenn Wilson, originally of Suitland. He was arrested without incident at an extended-stay hotel in Germantown on charges of "house breaking," which today is known as "breaking and entering."
Mr. Wilson was also arrested on larceny charges and in connection with receiving stolen goods.
Col. Payne said Mr. Tinsley and Mr. Wilson were "very surprised" when officers knocked on their door. Their felony cases were among the county's oldest: Mr. Tinsley's was 35 years old, and Mr. Wilson's was 39 years old.
Reached by telephone, Mr. Tinsley said, "I don't have anything to say. I don't even remember what happened."
Mr. Wilson could not be reached for comment.
Col. Payne said the warrant squad stepped up its efforts in January after Sheriff Melvin C. High took office.
"Reducing the backlog of warrants and staying current on newly issued warrants is exactly what our two-pronged strategy is," Sheriff High said. "Our investigators did outstanding work, refining their investigative techniques to locate and capture individuals who have eluded capture for so long."
Col. Payne acknowledges that the county's state's attorney will be challenged to make a case on such aged charges because prosecutors will have to track down witnesses, victims and officers involved in the crime when it occurred.
Col. Payne said the squad started with roughly 53,365 warrants, including new ones issued every day, and has trimmed that number to roughly 48,000.
He also said the searches are joint efforts with the state police, the U.S. Marshals Service and other county and municipal law-enforcement agencies.
© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.