Gus G. Sentementes, Sun reporter
Following a lead that took them to Baltimore County, city police detectives have arrested a man they say is responsible for a spree of brazen armed robberies, carjackings and home invasions over the past two months in Central and North Baltimore.
Two detectives went Saturday night to the home of a woman they believed might know the suspect because a call was made to her on a cell phone shortly after it had been stolen. While the detectives were talking to her, a man entered the home, saw the police and fled, crashing through a sliding glass door, police said. Detectives chased and arrested the man.
Police have charged the man in connection with three armed robberies in the city's Central District, and they believe he is the same man responsible for a series of home invasions, carjackings and armed robberies in the northern and northeastern parts of the city.
Police identified the suspect as Keith Ray, 36, who was arrested in the first block of Comet Court in the Hillendale section. He was released from prison on parole in April after serving a 14-year sentence for armed robbery and handgun violations, police said.
Officials said that Ray, whose last known address was in the 300 block of E. 21st St., has been charged in three robberies in the Central District.
Maj. Michael Tabor, who oversees the detective units in each of the city's nine districts, said he had tasked "a slew" of detectives to work on the case as police began to see the patterns of a one-man crime wave emerging.
A break in the case came when a cell phone stolen in a robbery was used to call the Baltimore County address, Tabor said. Police had obtained a subpoena to access cell-phone records and discovered the call made to a Comet Court address about 20 minutes after a robbery last month, Tabor said.
"This suspect is going to be linked to several robberies across the city," Tabor said.
Police believe that one man, wearing a mask or other coverings on his face, has been responsible for a wave of stickups - on the street and inside homes - in at least nine cases since May. At least one victim told police that the man admitted that he needed money to feed his drug habit.
In one incident, he held up a 63-year-old law school professor outside his Guilford home, forced him to drive to an ATM, stole $1,200 from him, and then dropped him off in Reservoir Hill - without his pants.
The robber also held up four women in their Guilford home, forcing one of them to go to a nearby ATM and a grocery store to obtain cash while he held her roommates at gunpoint. In Northeast Baltimore, a couple were carjacked outside their home at gunpoint and forced to drive to an ATM.
Last week, a 27-year-old woman was the victim of a carjacking after she parked her car in a Charles Village alley in the 3000 block of St. Paul Street. The man ordered her to drive to an ATM and withdraw hundreds of dollars while he sat in the back seat with a gun pointed at her. He then dropped her off in downtown Baltimore.
Maj. Michael Pristoop said detectives were working over the weekend to sift through evidence that might link the man to the incidents in his Northern District and in the Northeastern district.
"We are investigating the probability that he is responsible for all, if not most, that occurred in the Northern District and in Ednor Gardens. We're looking at the strong possibility that he is involved in those cases and more throughout the city," Pristoop said.
Tabor said that Detective James Schuler and Detective Sgt. Randy Dull believed they had found the right man when he walked in the door of the home on Comet Court and began acting nervously before he fled. They noticed tattoos on his arms that were similar to those described by robbery victims, he said. After the man was arrested, police found a driver's license from one of the victims in his pocket, Tabor said.
Detectives have served search-and-seizure warrants on three locations in the city that they believe the suspect frequented, including an address in Ednor Gardens, where they searched a Jeep that they believe was used during the crimes.
Inside the Jeep, Tabor said, detectives found a mask, bandanas, hosiery and a pellet gun that they believe was used in the crimes.
Copyright 2006 The Baltimore Sun Company
Suspect arrested in crime spree; City police track stolen cell phone to county address