Aberdeen police on Thursday released photos of the man they believed kidnapped Violet Ripken from her home Tuesday morning, but provided little additional detail on the suspect’s motive or other details of the case.
Also released was a photo of Ripken’s 1998 Lincoln Continental, which police said the man used to drive Ripken, 74, around Harford and Baltimore counties for nearly a day before leaving her bound in the back seat near her Aberdeen home early Wednesday morning.
The photos show a man described as a white male approximately 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing 180 lbs with short brown hair and glasses entering a store. He is shown wearing a shirt shirt over a blue undershirt and an orange hat.
Aberdeen police declined to specify the store shown, but said they were confident that the man shown is a viable suspect.
“The information provided that lead [sic] to the release of photo is very credible,” Aberdeen Police Department spokesman Lt. Fred Budnick said in an e-mail to media. “We by no means want to compromise the integrity of the investigation and this is NOT a releasable piece of information.”
Police said they released the photo of Ripken’s car, with the license plate blurred out, in the hopes that its “distinctive” bumper stickers may help identify the suspect who drove it for approximately 22 hours.
Anyone with tips on the whereabouts of the suspect or the case is asked to notify Metro Crime Stoppers online at http://www.harfordsheriff.org/wanted, via text message by texting “CRIMES” to 274637, beginning the message “MCS,” then adding the information, or by calling Harford Crime Solvers at 410-836-5432. A $2,000 reward for tips leading to a conviction–a standard amount for most Metro Crime Stoppers cases–has been offered.
According to police, the man approached Ripken at her Aberdeen home between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesday morning and forced her into her vehicle at gunpoint. He spent the day driving through Harford and Baltimore counties, police said, apparently using her credit cards until he was spotted at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Ebenezer Road in White Marsh by an individual who alerted Baltimore County police.
Call logs sent out daily by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office show Baltimore County police called their local counterparts at 8:35 p.m. Tuesday to report an “elderly woman” with “silver hair” appeared to be tied up in the back of the car, and a second person, a man with dark hair and a slender build who was wearing gloves.
They advised Aberdeen police that the car’s license plate matched that of Ripken’s, initiating a night-long search. A missing person alert for Ripken was issued to media shortly after 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, and Ripken was located by neighbors in the car not far from her home at approximately 6:15 a.m.
Responding to intense national media attention which Ripken’s kidnapping drew to the Harford County area, Aberdeen police cautioned that they would not release information which might harm what they called an “active, ongoing investigation.
“With regards to the citizens who are commenting and releasing information, please note that APD will only release verifiable, and confirmed information that will not jeopardize our investigation,” Budnick wrote.
From the Aberdeen Police Department:
(July 26, 2012, 2012 – Aberdeen, MD) – The Aberdeen Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating the person seen in the picture attached. The suspect is believed to be connected with the abduction of Vi Ripken that occurred on July 24, 2012.
Ms. Ripken was taken from her home in Aberdeen and transported in her own vehicle, a 1998 Silver Lincoln Town car through areas of Harford and Baltimore County before being returned to her own home early on the morning of July 25, 2012.
The suspect pictured is described as white male approximately 5’10” tall, 180 lbs, short brown hair and glasses.
Anyone with information regarding the crime who wishes to remain anonymous may report their information through the following methods listed below. Qualifying tips submitted to the tip lines below that lead to a conviction
may be eligible for up to $2,000 in rewards.
Website/Email: Submit a tip online at http://www.harfordsheriff.org/wanted
Text message: Metro Crime Stoppers: Text “CRIMES” (274637). Begin the message “MCS,” then add the information.
Phone: Harford Crime Solvers Special #: Call 1-410-836-5432