MARYLAND

Robber Leaves Fake Bomb in Bank

More than a dozen Waldorf businesses were evacuated for nearly three hours yesterday afternoon after a man robbed a Charles County bank and left behind a box that he claimed was a bomb, the Charles County sheriff's office said.

Sheriff's spokesman Craig J. Renner said the unidentified suspect, wearing a dark jacket and sunglasses, walked into the Old Line National Bank in Waldorf about 11:53 a.m. and placed a cardboard box on the bank counter.

The man handed a note to a teller demanding money and claiming that the box contained a bomb. The teller, a 20-year-old Waldorf woman, handed him a bag containing an undisclosed amount of cash. The man then fled with the money, leaving the box behind.

Technicians from the state fire marshal's bomb squad were summoned. Using a portable X-ray machine, they determined that the box contained nothing but filler paper. Authorities are still seeking the robber.

80 Stolen Purses Found in Man's Car

A man arrested in a shopping center parking lot in Western Maryland had more than 80 stolen purses belonging to people in 13 states, police say.

George W. Towson Jr., 28, of Fort Collins, Colo., was being held in the Garrett County jail yesterday on $100,000 bond, charged with theft, destruction of property and drug possession.

Police said they arrested Towson while investigating the reported smash-and-grab theft of a purse from a van. A vehicle description led Trooper Michael Kleppinger to a car in the McHenry Plaza parking lot, police said.

Kleppinger found Towson in the car, sorting through credit cards and driver's licenses with a stolen laptop computer beside him, according to a police statement.

The car, stolen from a rental agency in Fort Collins, also contained several stolen backpacks as well as prescription drugs and drug paraphernalia including syringes with suspected heroin residue, police said.