FROSTBURG - An experienced criminal who had been arrested 19 previous times in Maryland picked the wrong victim when he burglarized a residence on Teaberry Lane late Tuesday afternoon. It was the home of an ex-police officer.

Timothy A. Revels, 32, of Cumberland remained jailed Thursday on $200,000 bond following his arrest Tuesday about an hour after he walked into the occupied residence of retired Frostburg Police officer Bob Flanigan.

Annette Flanigan was doing laundry in the basement with sons Max, 9, and Brady, 6, when she heard footsteps upstairs. Their golden retriever, Clancey, barked once.

"I was doing laundry and I thought it was my husband and I was getting upset that he was walking through the house with his shoes on," said the Beall Elementary school teacher.

Brady then walked upstairs and found a man in the kitchen with trash all over the floor. The man was placing the family's small safe into the trash bag.

"He asked Brady if his mommy was home. Brady said 'yes' and the man ran out of the house. Brady then told me about it and I immediately called my husband and told him the guy was walking up the street carrying the bag with our safe," Annette said.

Bob Flanigan was only a few blocks away at Braddock Apartments, which he owns and operates with his brother-in-law Andy Smith, when he received a distressed call from his wife informing him of the burglary.

Seconds later, Flanigan held the suspect in his grasp, listening to his protests of innocence and claiming that he knew "Miss Linda," a neighborhood resident for whom the suspect claimed he had installed windows last fall.

"At that point, I'm questioning him, conducting an investigation like I used to, and telling him that he is staying with me until backup arrives to sort this out. My wife was there and wanted to hit him with a shovel she had in her hand but I wouldn't let her," said Flanigan, who spent 19 years as a police officer before retiring in January 2005.

Revels continued to struggle while claiming that he had found the bag with the safe on the street and was checking with residents to see who owned it.

"At that point, he did a pirouette and wiggled out of his jacket and took off running. I found our jewelry in his coat pockets," said Flanigan.

"Frostburg Chief Bill Evans was the first officer on the scene and chased him into the woods. Within minutes, num-erous police officers were there.

"Soon Bill gave a radio report of the suspect's location off Braddock Road near the campus," said Flanigan.

A short time later, a tow truck operator observed Revels heading onto the campus near the tennis courts. Three Maryland state troopers converged on the area before they located and took him into custody.

Flanigan arrived to identify Revels as the same man who was in his grasp about 45 minutes earlier.

Thursday, more details came to light about the incident.

"Apparently he (Revels) was in the neighborhood knocking on doors and offering to shovel snow," said Annette. "He had a container with ice melt and a snow shovel and had been to our neighbor's house before he came to our house.

"He came to our door. It was unlocked and he just came in and emptied the trash. He found our safe in a bedroom closet and took our jewelry," she said.

As a police officer, Flanigan had spent countless hours instructing citizens and other groups about crime prevention and personal security. He even worked with neighborhood watch groups.

"We own 138 housing units and this guy picked our house. We are lulled into a sense of security in Frostburg. Our kids were out playing in the snow. We let the dog out numerous times. We don't live in fear. It was the middle of the afternoon with a vehicle in the driveway and my family at home. How do you take enough precautions?" said Flanigan, who acknowledged that Tuesday's incident was a crime of opportunity.

"He checked the door and it was unlocked. So he came in," he said. "We're going to do some security upgrades.

"The Flanigan family is appreciative to the Frostburg Police Department Maryland State Police, Department of Natural Resources. Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office and numerous citizens that came to our aid," said Flanigan.

However, Flanigan voiced a concern. "According to the Maryland judiciary Web site, this guy was arrested 19 previous times. What was he doing out on the street?"

Jeff Alderton can be reached at

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