After Car Chase, Four Teens Charged in Theft

Four teenage boys from Upper Marlboro have been charged in the theft last week of two other teenagers' jackets in Waldorf.

The Charles County Sheriff's Office gave this account:

About 3 p.m. last Thursday, two boys, ages 15 and 16, were approached by three young people as they were walking along Nautica Place in Waldorf. One of the three suspects implied that he had a gun, and they demanded the boys' jackets.

The victims gave up their jackets, and the three suspects fled in a gold-colored Jeep driven by a fourth person.

A short time later, an officer spotted the Jeep traveling north on Route 301 in Waldorf. When the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver refused to pull over and turned onto southbound Leonardtown Road.

The vehicle continued onto Lakewood Place pursued by sheriff's officers and Maryland State Police troopers. The driver lost control as he turned onto Sweetwood Place, and the Jeep ran into trees and the side of a home. The four people ran but were caught by officers.

The youths -- a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds -- were not named because they are juveniles, police said. Each was charged with robbery, motor vehicle theft, destruction of property worth more than $500, theft of more than $500, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and theft of less than $500. In addition, the 16-year-old was charged with reckless driving, fleeing and eluding, and multiple traffic offenses. He was being held at the Cheltenham Youth Facility. The other boys were released to their parents.

Charles County Sheriff's Office Is Honored

The Charles County Sheriff's Office was recognized recently for its efforts to enforce seat belt and child safety seat laws during the 17th annual Maryland Chiefs' Challenge, a competition sponsored by the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association. This is the eighth consecutive year the sheriff's office has been honored.

The competition, which took place in the spring, is intended to raise public awareness of the lifesaving and injury-preventing benefits of safety belt and child safety seat use. Law enforcement agencies from around Maryland participated.

"Enforcing Maryland's seat belt and child safety seat laws is a priority for the Charles County Sheriff's Office because we know seat belts and safety seats reduce the risk of death and injury in a crash," Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis (R) said in a statement. He added that the Chiefs' Challenge was "especially important for us this year, given the record-breaking number of traffic fatalities we've seen in our county."

Lt. John Caywood, commander of the Community Services Section; Sgt. Hoover Thompson, supervisor of the Traffic Operations Unit; and Private 1st Class Robert Padgett, a member of the Traffic Operations Unit and the coordinator of the challenge, accepted the award at a banquet in Baltimore.

To be considered for the award, law enforcement agencies are required to document their enforcement efforts with photographs, videos, testimonials and press releases. More than 100 agencies participated.

During the Chiefs' Challenge, Charles sheriff's officers issued 324 citations for seat belt and child safety seat violations, up from 268 citations last year.

In Maryland, the seat belt use rate climbed from 89 percent last year to 91 percent this year. In Charles County, the rate increased from 88 percent to 93 percent.