- The Washington Times - Friday, August 22, 2008

HANCOCK, Md. | A burglary suspect wanted in four states barricaded himself and a woman inside a Western Maryland motel Thursday.

The standoff began at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday when state troopers and sheriff’s deputies went to the America’s Best Value Inn on Md. 522 in Hancock to arrest James A. Prevatt III, 26, said state police spokesman Greg Shipley.

Mr. Shipley said Mr. Prevatt threatened to kill the woman, thought to be his 21-year-old pregnant girlfriend, and any officers who tried to arrest him.

Mr. Shipley said the woman is thought to be eight- to eight-and-a-half-months pregnant. Authorities don’t know whether Mr. Prevatt is the baby’s father. A team of physicians from Johns Hopkins Hospital was standing by to handle a medical emergency, including childbirth.

Troopers and deputies evacuated about 12 of the 20 rooms in the one-story red brick motel where other guests were staying. Md. 522 was blocked in both directions near the motel, where a sign advertises room rates starting at $45.

Mr. Prevatt is wanted in Maryland, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Virginia on burglary and larceny charges, Mr. Shipley said. Police did not know whether he was armed, but Mr. Shipley said some of the burglaries involved the theft of firearms.

Police have had phone conversations with Mr. Prevatt but not consistently.

Negotiations were continuing, Mr. Shipley said, but “obviously, he does not want to come out and be arrested.” Mr. Shipley said no shots had been fired, and police don’t think anyone is injured. He would not say whether police had spoken with the girlfriend.

Hancock is in Maryland’s mountainous western panhandle, between the Potomac River and the Pennsylvania border. The town has a population of about 1,700, according to the U.S. Census.

Joseph Michael, Washington County deputy state’s attorney, said the only charges on record against Mr. Prevatt in Maryland stemmed from a July 2000 District Court warrant involving a burglary and the theft of electronic equipment at a home in Hagerstown.

Mr. Prevatt was serving time in prison in Massachusetts as late as February and was released after completing his prison term, Mr. Shipley said.

Five state police hostage negotiators also were on the scene Thursday morning.

“We want it to end peacefully,” Mr. Shipley said. “We want everyone to come out of this safely.”

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