FEDERALSBURG -- Federalsburg police are looking for the suspect in an armed robbery of the town's mayor Tuesday afternoon.
Mayor Bill Beall lost his cell phone, but was uninjured, police said.
The report of the robbery also initiated a lockdown procedure at Federalsburg Elementary School, just as students were preparing for dismissal, Caroline County Superintendent Dr. Khalid Mumin said Wednesday.
Police said Beall was outside the Super Soda, at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue, around 3:25 p.m. Tuesday, when he was approached by a black man, wearing blue jeans and a gray hoodie.
Police said the man asked Beall for a ride to the marina, where he was meeting a friend.
“I trust people,” Beall said Wednesday in an interview on his home phone. “He had the best smile; it was raining, so I told him to get in the truck.”
Beall drove down Main Street toward the marina. He said the man asked to borrow his cell phone to call a friend, and pretended to speak to the friend, telling him to meet him at the stop sign at the corner of Smith Street and River Road, across from the marina.
When Beall stopped the truck at the stop sign, he said the man stepped out of the truck with Beall's phone still in one hand, and then reached under his hoodie with the other, as though he had a concealed gun.
“He said, 'I need your wallet,'” Beall said. “I was so shocked. I said 'You gotta be kidding me!'”
Beall said the man repeated the demand.
“He said, 'No, I need your wallet before this goes off,'” Beall said.
Beall said he stepped on the gas and made a U-turn, hitting the suspect with the open passenger's door of the truck as he did so.
The man fled, and Beall said he drove straight to Resort Linens on River Road, owned by former Federalsburg Mayor Mickey Fluharty, where he asked Fluharty to call the police.
Beall said Federalsburg officers and a K-9 unit responded, as did the Caroline County Sheriff's Office. No one has been arrested, and the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information should call Federalsburg police at 410-754-8966.
Beall said the incident changed his mind about accepting requests for rides from strangers.
“Next time I'll tell him to take a bus,” Beall said. “Call a cab.”
Mumin said Federalsburg police called the school administration as soon as the robbery was reported, and the school went into a standard lockdown procedure. Bus drivers, who were en route to the school, were alerted by the transportation department before they arrived, Mumin said.
Police escorted students onto the busses, Mumin said. Police also trailed the busses, and trailed groups of students who walk home, to make sure everyone arrived safely.
The lockdown did not delay dismissal, Mumin said, and no afterschool activities were scheduled, because students are taking Maryland School Assessment exams this week.
“All students and staff were safe,” Mumin said.