Charm City Hit by Brazen Thieves

By Tami Faram

Annapolis, Md., a picturesque tourist town and sailing community, is experiencing an increase in "brazen burglaries," according to local police. In June, many retail shops in the center of the city had their front windows smashed by thieves throwing brick or cinder blocks.

Although Annapolis does experience crime like any community, Officer Hal Dalton of the Annapolis police says the crimes have been occurring in commercial and "tourist areas" of the historic district, and the crimes have occurred much earlier than usual.

"It's been occurring in a part of town where we don't see a lot of crime," he says. "And because of the time of the burglaries, they have been a little more brazen."

"Basically they just take a brick or a cinder block and break the window and then grab whatever looks valuable," Dalton adds.

Dalton says the burglaries have been occurring earlier than usual, before midnight, and some before dusk.

Robbie Fitzgerald, owner of Garden Architects, a high-end outdoor living store, was burglarized at 10 p.m., at her shop located on West Street in the center of town.

"It cost $500 to replace the glass window, which is only a quarter of the cost of the laptop they stole," she says. The burglar took a "developer" laptop that cost more than $2,000.

Fitzgerald said a brick was thrown through the shop's side window, which is made of insulating glass. Her shop window contains six 30- by 30-inch lites of insulating glass. "Zelko Glass, a local Annapolis glass shop, was called to replace the lite in Fitzgerald's store.

"They came and boarded up the window right away," Fitzgerald says, "and it only took a day-and-a-half for them to replace the broken glass."

Don Hopkins, owner of Zelko Glass/Annapolis Lock&Key Inc., says he's been called to respond to at least a half dozen other Annapolis retailers whose windows were broken as a result of the recent burglaries.

"We're replacing glass and damaged frames," Hopkins says. "We're doing whatever is necessary to get the person's life back in order."

Hopkins adds that in June he replaced store windows in retailers such as Annapolis Granite and Tile, a Nextel store, a bagel shop, a sandwich shop and a Chinese restaurant. "We've replaced a lot of the store front windows in the last month," he says.

CLICK HERE to read coverage of the crime by the Annapolis Capital newspaper

Tami Faram is the assistant editor of™/USGlass magazine.