Doing a Double Take
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 21st January 2017

June 19, 2015 8:42 pm ET

Two-for-one blog: Vontran takes plea deal; Eagle examines Crandell performance

Source: Doing a Double Take

Years ago, the Wrigley Company introduced a marketing slogan that went something like, “Double your pleasure, double your fun.”

And that, folks, is a good theme to resurrect today, as I provide a “double take” on happenings in the area.

First up is an update on the Vontran burglary case. The last time I posted about this saga, the Baltimore County’s Sheriff’s deputy involved in the case—Sgt. Mike Weiss—accepted placing his case on the STET docket in exchange for paying the victim $2,000 in restitution.

A quick side note: I found that deal to be a bit strange, especially since Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby is hell-bent on prosecuting the six police officers in the city involved in the Freddie Gray case. In my opinion, Ms. Mosby has already convicted the officers based on a mouthful of biased comments from her own lips.

And now back to our regularly scheduled topic…

The burglary case was transferred from the Baltimore County State’s Attorney office to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney office to avoid a potential conflict of interest, which worked out perfectly for the defendants.

However, as Sgt. Weiss was accepting his fate, Mr. Vontran and another defendant—Alexandra Hartsock, who worked at the Sea Horse Inn—both requested a jury trial.

According to the victim, just prior to the start of said jury trail, the jury was dismissed and a judge was brought in to hear the case.

Also according to the victim, both the defense attorney and the prosecutors from the city called for a brief recess and went into the hallway. Upon returning, they announced before the judge that they had reached a plea deal. Mr. Vontran agreed to plead guilty to both charges of 4th Degree Burglary and Malicious Destruction of Property. Mr. Vontran agreed to pay restitution to the victim and was given six months of PBJ (probation before judgment) with orders to stay away from the defendant.

I don’t recall any press conferences from Ms. Mosby’s office about this case, which would lead directly to Sheriff Fisher’s office. After all, that is where Sgt. Weiss claimed he received the fraudulent paperwork.

No word yet on the outcome of Ms. Hartsock’s case. I will post an update as soon as possible.

Regardless of what happened in court, this isn’t over yet, folks, so don’t touch that dial.

Eagle Eye on Councilman Crandell

For the second part of today’s double header, we change channels over to the Dundalk Eagle, which has followed yours truly in taking issue with Councilman’s Crandell’s job performance.

Reporters Ben Boehl and Jonathan K. O’Neill from the Eagle responded to a cry for help from a local resident whose street, Dunnmanway, is taking a pounding from “large port” trucks.

Apparently, these trucks are transporting material form the port to Merritt Boulevard and points beyond by using Dunnmanway as a shortcut.

Frustrated residents sent photographs to the Eagle after a “tepid response” from the Police Department’s Traffic Section.

The frustrated community member, Stacy Mitchell, also contacted Councilman Crandell’s office and received a “three-lined” e-mail from Ron Metzger, Crandell’s east side staff member.

The response from Mr. Metzger was somewhere between unbelievable and obscene. Mr. Metzger said that he contacted the County and received the following response: “they would not install a sign at this time because of current street repairs etc.”

Now, if that is the case, why would anyone repair a road that the current truck traffic is destroying? Sadly, such idiocy is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for the County.

Even sadder is the fact that Councilman Crandell was aware of this problem and his response was, at least to me, full of gobbledygook. In the end, the County sent a person from its traffic control office, who said that THERE WAS A PROBLEM THERE.

Imagine that!

Now the County will place a traffic control sign that, if enforced, should take care of the problem. No need for Governor Hogan to activate the National Guard to address the situation.

The issue, with a little heat from the Councilman, could have been resolved much sooner. Instead, Mr. Crandell issued this somewhat lame response: “…sometimes we hit a snag with a county department and we have to reposition an argument or work it from a different angle in order to get the result, and that may take some time,” the Councilman said.

Well, he’s right about one thing—a phone call would have been a lot quicker than repositioning an argument or working it from a different angle.

How hard is it to put up a sign that says NO THROUGH TRUCKS? That is not something the United Nations has to approve first or anything.

So, there you go, folks—a two-for-one news and commentary article.

With that said, be sure to stay tuned, because next week is super surprise week for the County. All sorts of issues will be put forward, and the games will begin (and I’m not talking about any professional sporting events).

The mere thought of it has even awakened me from a little snooze. I’m looking for a fly on the wall, so to speak, so give me a shout if you know one that is buzzing around in the hallways of Towson.

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