Hundreds of persons took advantage of snowbound police forces in Prince George's and Northeast and Southeast Washington to loot and vandalize more than 50 businesses yesterday and Monday, police reported.
County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan called in state police equipped with riot gear to guard shopping centers in hard-hit Prince George's County. A state police helicopter with searchlights patrolled potential trouble areas to prevent a recurrence of incidents in which crowds smashed and looted 37 businesses Monday in three shopping centers inside the beltway.
In all, Prince George's police reported that 11 persons had been arrested and charged with snow-related crimes since Monday.
District police doubled their patrols in Northeast and Southeast business areas after outbreaks of burglary and vandalism began on Monday afternoon. Police reported 30 burglaries in the 24-hour period beginning at 5 a.m. Monday, and Asst. Chief Bernard D. Crooke said that seven of the incidents were instances of weather-related looting.
Later, police reported five other burglaries early Tuesday, including several cases where windowns were broken and goods stolen. In all, nine persons were arrested yesterday and Monday for burglary.
In two cases, Metro officials and police said, vandalism occurred at Metro stations when crowds of applicants for snow shoveling jobs at $5 an hour were forced to wait for hours, before some of them were turned away by Metro officials. The Metro maintenance shop in Silver Spring was also vandalized by Metro job-seekers, according to witnesses.
Alexandria police detectives said about five burglaries were reported they said the cases were not neces-Monday and Tuesday morning, but sarily weather-related. Montgomery County and Fairfax police said they reveiced no reports of looting or vandalism.
Extensive looting was reported in Baltimore, where police and state troopers arrested 347 persons for breaking and entering Monday and yesterday and charged another 366 with violating a 7 p.m. curfew imposed by Mayor William Donald Schaefer.Maryland Gov. Harry R. Hughes declared a state of emergency for Baltimore last night to remove questions about the legality of the curfew.
One policeman who spent the night patrolling the ravaged buildings along Baltimore's Pennsylvania Avenue said the scene there "looked like World War III."
Looting in Prince George's began on a large scale at approximately noon Monday, when crowds broke into stores at the Dodge Park shopping center on Landover Road and the Coral Hills shopping center on Marlboro Pike.
Volunteer firefighters at the Kentland station across Landover Road from the Dodge Park center said they saw more than 50 persons leaving a Murphy's store carrying clothes, appliances, suitcases and chests. The front window of the store had been smashed, and two other stores had been vandalized.
Fire officials said yesterday that they rushed to the mall and dispersed the crowd with walls of water from fire hoses, as the looters tossed snowballs and screamed obcenities and threats. Fire officials then guarded the shopping center until police arrived about 20 minutes later in four-wheel-drive vehicles they had borrowed from citizens. Fire officials said there were no arrests at Dodge Park.
At Coral Hills, police said, a crowd broke into at least four stores about noon and carried off large amounts of merchandise. In addition, police said, a shooting was reported to have occurred during the burglaries but police were unable to confirm the report. Once again, police were slowed by road conditions and were powerless to prevent the burglaries.
"We were very understaffed," police spokesman John Hoxie said yesterday, "and we had to borrow four-wheel drive vehicles and trucks to get around in. There were calls from all over to respond to."
Between 3 and about 7 p.m. a crowd broke into five stores at the Eastover Shopping Center on South Capitol Street and stole large amounts of merchandise, despite the efforts of security guards to stop them, security guards said.
"We let some people in the window-shop," said Lt. Peter Bodmer of the security force, "and then they started kicking the windows in." Police said a Radio Sack store in the center was nearly cleaned out, and a Penny's store was severely damaged after looters broke out its front windows, causing its sprinkler system to freeze and explode, spewing water over the merchandize.
The only arrest at Eastover occurred about 10 p.m. after a man who had stolen a pair of boots valued at $62.99 from Kinney's Shoes walked into a nearby restaurant and asked its manager to call an ambulance. He had suffered cuts from broken glass. the restaurant manager said.
Vandals were also reported to have raided the Suitland shopping center on Silver Hill road, several businesses in the Seat Pleasant area, a Potomac and Electric Power Co., substation, and the Winchester Gun Club in Lanham.
On the approval of Hogan, police on the shift ending at 2 a.m. Tuesday were kept out until 4 a.m., and scheduling in the special operations division was shifted to allow more officers to patrol the streets last night.
Hoxie said that all of the burglaries in Prince George's were not necessarily weather-related. "We had a lot of vandalism that probably would have happened anyway," Hoxie said.
According to police, looting in the District was mostly limited to isolated incidents involving small numbers of persons, beginning Monday when eight to ten stores were burglaried in Northeast Washington.
Police Lt. Warren Copeland said that burglaries were reported at six stores in two shopping centers on East Capitol Street.
In another instance, police arrested two persons at the Suburban Liquor Store at 4347 Hunt Place, where looters cleaned out liquor and cigarette supplies and destroyed windows and other property.
"The police called me at home and told me about it, and they said they couldn't leave their men there to guard it," said Suburban Liquor owner Emanuel Stock, who estimated his loss at $5,000 to $7.000. "So I came here and opened the store, and I've had the only open store in the neighborhood."
"Business is booming now, and it makes me feel better, Stock said yesterday afternoon. "Maybe I can empty the store, so when I go home I won't have to worry about it."
Early yesterday morning, vandalism in the District shifted to Southeast, where police reported four incidents of vandalism and burglary and three arrests.
In addition, a crowd of several hundred persons that gathered at the Eastern Market Metro stop early yesterday hoping to be picked up for Metro snow shoveling work looted a nearby liquor store and mobbed several busses, police and witnesses said.
"It was frightening," said Lisa Shephered, who was in the crowd. "The whole thing was a mob situation." Shepherd said that more than 50 persons entered Kobre's Liquor Store on Pennsylvania Avenue and stole bottles. Some shoved their goods into snowbanks when the police arrived, then returned later to pick them up, Shepherd said. Police later said one person was arrested.
Metro officials said another crowd awaiting work at the Minnesota Avenue station also became angry when they were not picked up, and tore down a nearby fence.
Later, more than 600 persons who arrived at Metro's maintenance shop on Georgia Avenue -- some of them bused from five different stops -- occupied three floors of the building, scuffled and vandalized the building while waiting for work.
One second floor wall was kicked in, telephone cords were ripped from walls, and an adding machine and two typewriters were stolen, officials said. Montgomery police were called to quell the disturbance and arrested a man for larceny, police said.