Bank robbery: A Laurel bank was robbed yesterday by a man believed to have robbed several banks in Maryland.

The bandit walked into the Sandy Spring Bank in the 14000 block of Baltimore Avenue about 10:45 a.m., presented a note demanding money and left with an undisclosed amount of cash, said Barry Maddox, an FBI spokesman in the Baltimore office.

Authorities identified the suspect as Christopher Cline, 28, of Gaithersburg, who has been charged in warrants in bank robberies in Montgomery and Baltimore counties, Maddox said. Cline is suspected of robbing at least 11 banks since Oct. 15.


Homicide ruling: The death of a 50-year-old woman in September has been ruled a homicide, D.C. police said yesterday.

Laura E. Smith, of the 100 block of W Street NW, was found beaten June 28 in Logan Circle in Northwest. She died Sept. 15 from her injuries, police said.


Bomb threat: A Dale City man was arrested yesterday on felony charges of threatening to bomb a Prince William County middle school, police said.

Devin O'Neal Varner, of the 4000 block of Welsh Lane, allegedly threatened in an Internet chat room to blow up Godwin Middle School in Woodbridge, police said. An Idaho resident saw the threats in the chat room and contacted Prince William police at 4 a.m. yesterday. Police tracked down Varner by issuing emergency subpoenas to Internet providers. Officers searched the school before students arrived, but nothing was found.

Sgt. Kim Chinn, a police spokeswoman, said Varner made no attempt to carry out the threat. Varner, 22, was being held without bond.

BMW burned: A 40-year-old Bethesda man has been charged with breaking into an Arlington townhouse Monday, stealing the resident's BMW and then setting it afire in Montgomery County, police said yesterday.

Peter L. Ahearn, of the 5500 block of McKinley Street, is being held in Montgomery on the car theft from the 2400 block of South 26th Court.

Wallet scam: Police in Northern Virginia think they have ended a regional scam in which three people posed as police officers and demanded victims' wallets on dozens of occasions, and three Woodbridge residents have been arrested on fraud charges.

In most cases, a person at a bus stop or gas station was approached by someone who claimed to be an undercover officer investigating a crime and asked for the person's wallet. Cash and debit cards would then be stolen.

Jesus Sossa-Vivancos, 36, of the 13800 block of Montclair Lane, was charged Oct. 6 with three counts of fraud and one count of impersonating an officer in Fairfax County, police said yesterday, and also was charged in Prince William County and Alexandria. Monica Obando, 24, and Alain Gary Obando-Encinas, 19, both of the same address, were charged in other jurisdictions with related offenses.

Compiled from reports by staff writers.