- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 29, 2007



Woman arrested for 911 misuse

A woman was arrested after repeatedly calling 911 and asking to be transferred to another number because her cell phone minutes had run out.

When phone minutes run out, a cell phone can still be used to call 911.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said Cynthia Morris, 43, called 911 once Tuesday and three times Wednesday. After the third visit to her home, deputies warned her she would be arrested if she made another nonemergency call.

The sheriff’s office said Miss Morris was arrested, charged with telephone misuse and released.


Mistakes blamed in firefighter’s death

Mistakes and safety violations played a role in the death of a firefighter in the line of duty last fall, according to a preliminary investigative report obtained by the Baltimore Sun.

Allan Roberts was killed in October while fighting a fire at a row house in East Baltimore. The report said firefighters were spraying water on the flames in the back of the home when Mr. Roberts and others went in through the front.

The fire turned the water into steam, increasing the heat inside the building. The report said it’s “unacceptable and dangerous” to use hoses to try to extinguish a fire from the exterior while firefighters are attacking it inside.

It said Mr. Roberts struggled to get air flowing from his oxygen tank and pulled his mask off. He collapsed unconscious and later died.


Death-row inmate died naturally

The state medical examiner has confirmed that a death-row inmate died of natural causes.

Lawrence Borchardt died last month of heart disease and chronic high blood pressure. A spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office says diabetes also played a role in Borchardt’s death. He was 55.

Borchardt was convicted in 2000 and sentenced to death for the fatal stabbings of an elderly Rosedale couple on Thanksgiving Day 1998. Joseph and Bernice Ohler had twice given money to Borchardt. He was addicted to heroin and was going door to door claiming that his wife needed cancer treatment. He killed the couple when they told him they couldn’t give him any more money.

There are five men remaining on Maryland’s death row.


County cracks down on truant students

An initiative by Prince George’s County Police to crack down on students cutting school has caught more than 500 students playing hooky since it started in late February.

Capt. Rex Barret is the coordinator of the truancy initiative. He says that almost 6,000 students were truant from school last year — what he calls an unacceptable number.

County police are already busy dealing with crime, including a climbing murder rate, and don’t always have time to pick up the truant students.

But they’re making it a priority to get the children they do pick up back to school.

They say that truancy not only contributes to crime when the children commit it, but they sometimes become victims of robberies, too.

County legislators are also proposing a bill that would deny students a driver’s license if they have too many unexcused absences.


Police arrest three in church burglaries

Baltimore County police have arrested three men accused in two burglaries at churches in the southwest part of the county. And they’re trying to determine whether the men can be linked to 11 other burglaries reported at churches since February.

A police spokesman said in almost every burglary, someone broke a rear or side window to get inside the church.

The items stolen include petty cash, electronic devices and Communion wine. Court records show a diamond ring valued at $5,000 was taken from Dundalk Assembly of God Church.

Baltimore County investigators have been working with Harford County sheriff’s deputies. Several Harford churches were burglarized in March, and investigators haven’t ruled out a connection.

Kristian Dena, John McCurley and David Dodd — all from Dundalk — have been charged in the two burglaries.



Seats still available for anniversary events

Slightly fewer than two-thirds of the 90,000 tickets for the “America’s Anniversary Weekend” remain unsold.

The May 11-13 event is the centerpiece of the 18-month commemoration of the 400th anniversary of America’s first permanent English settlement at Jamestown.

Organizers expect many people won’t decide whether to attend until closer to the weekend. They say Jamestown is an easy drive from many places, from Philadelphia to the Carolinas.

Single-day tickets cost $30 and sales will be capped at 30,000 for each day.

Travel specialists say that ticket sales could get a boost right before the weekend, especially if the weather is good, because many people make getaway plans at the last minute.

The Jamestown anniversary events will include concerts, fireworks and appearances by the famous, but at its heart it is a commemoration of an important part of American history.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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