4 arrested in child support sweep

November 20, 1996


Staff Writer

Washington County sheriff's deputies looked through apartments and combed downtown bars Tuesday night, searching for parents who were wanted for failure to pay child support.

In just over three hours, four people were arrested on charges of contempt of court for failure to pay child support.

Deputies, working in teams of twos, hit the streets at about 6:50 p.m. in search of dozens of those on the wanted list.


The last arrest occurred shortly before 10 p.m., when deputies walked into a Baltimore Street bar searching for two of the men on the wanted list.

Instead, they found a woman recognized by Deputy 1st Class Maeve Starliper as one of those being sought.

The woman was handcuffed and led to a sheriff's cruiser parked in front of the bar.

As Starliper and Deputy 1st Class Michael Gladhill drove down the street, Starliper spotted a man she thought she recognized, walking down the sidewalk. Gladhill called the man over and asked him his name.

The man gave a name and Gladhill asked him for identification. As the man felt around in his pockets, he stepped into the light.

"That's him," Starliper said, and the man took off running, with the two deputies chasing.

Within moments, Starliper radioed for other deputies to join the search, but they were unable to locate the man.

Throughout the night, it was hit or miss for the deputies searching for those wanted on bench warrants issued by judges.

Judges issue bench warrants after being notified by the Department of Social Services of parents who are not making their court-ordered child support payments.

Most of the names on the wanted list were people who deputies have not been able to find through the usual efforts, such as going to their last known addresses.

In one case, the last arrest of the night, Linda Hull's name had just been put on the wanted list. She was alleged to owe $100 in child support. She was charged with contempt of court for failure to pay child support.

No one was home at the first home checked by Starliper and Gladhill. They drove to another suspect's home on U.S. 40 near Clear Spring and discovered the man had moved about three months ago, but had never changed his address with the court as required.

Starliper said there is a satisfaction in being able to track down a wanted person, but it also can be frustrating because in many cases, the same person is arrested for repeated offenses.

"It's always the same people over and over," Starliper said.

She said she has arrested some people more than 10 times over the years for failing to pay child support.

Frequent offenders also move frequently and change jobs to make it harder for authorities to find them, she said.

"Everybody ends up paying for those who don't pay child support," said Starliper, one of about eight deputies involved in Tuesday night's sweep.

As they drove from one house, Gladhill worked a cellular phone in the cruiser, attempting to track down some of those wanted.

The deputies got a tip that one of the women they were seeking was at a downtown Hagerstown tavern.

A search failed to turn up the woman. A bartender said she had been there about an hour earlier.

The deputies decide to check nearby bars on the hunch they would find the woman, or perhaps others they were seeking, inside.

At the third tavern, they found the woman they were seeking, Brandi Rene Griffith, 23, of 214 East Ave., who was charged with contempt of court for failure to pay child support.

The others arrested in the sweep Tuesday night were Bradley J. Hauker, 30, of 243 N. Potomac St., and Alvin Eugene Stonebraker, 32, of Frederick, Md. Each was charged with contempt of court for failure to pay child support.

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