State's Attorney: Serial burglary suspect targeted Towson University students, stole underwear

TOWSON, Md. - It started happening a month ago on Donington Circle just off Kenilworth Avenue, and then three other burglaries at the very same apartment complex followed in the days afterward.

Someone was strictly breaking into the homes of female Towson students, sometimes through windows, other times through doors.

Baltimore County police started patrolling the area after the first rash of burglaries, but then the suspect moved south, closer to campus to the apartments on Greenview Terrace.

Again, the same M.O: sometimes the suspect made off with pictures, credit cards IDs or jewelry, but in all cases, Baltimore County District Court records show, the man rooted through dirty laundry piles and removed  pairs of women's underwear or other undergarments from Towson students' apartments.

"I didn't know that before. That really makes it creepier. I thought maybe he was just trying to rob electronics or something," Erin Morgan, a Towson University senior, said. 

Another student who lives in off campus apartments said there have been a growing number of crime alerts from the university and she was beginning to feel that she was not safe anywhere. When the latest alert about this case came out May 1st, "it just sort of scared me. It made me feel really unsafe," Katie Hogan told ABC2.

There were 10 victims all together Baltimore County police said, a motive that was so unique, it jogged the detective's memory way back to 1992 and a man named Vincent Davis Jr.

"As soon as you mentioned a couple of items, it all came back," said Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

The case seemed even more eerily familiar to Shellenberger after Baltimore County police served a warrant on Davis's home on Taylor Avenue a few days ago when officers recovered stolen items, many of which were women's undergarments. 

In 1992, then-Assistant State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger prosecuted Davis for the exact same type rash of burglaries against Towson co-eds.

A warrant back then turned up a pillow case full of more than 40 pairs of women's underwear. Only then, Davis attempted to sexually assault one of his victims, which finally got him caught and prosecuted.

"So in 1993 he pleaded guilty to attempted first degree sex offense. I was asking for a life sentence and at the time, I went back and looked, I said to the judge he was an incredibly dangerous individual and he should be put away for life. Unfortunately the judge only gave him 27 years," Shellenberger said.

Davis would end up serving about 18 years, getting out of prison four years ago.

He had to register as a sex offender and records show he was compliant, but starting one month ago charging documents show Davis began down the same disturbing path as he did 22 years ago. Charging documents allege Davis began burglarizing apartments and collecting what detectives are calling incredibly personal ‘tokens’ from his female Towson University student victims.

It is déjà vu for the now state's attorney who will have to take another crack at this serial burglar for victimizing the very same population two decades later.

"I would rather he had gotten life and me feel good back then rather than standing here now talking about him again. So it doesn't make me feel good that we didn't get the right thing done," Shellenberger said.

Davis currently faces 10 counts of first degree burglary and is being held without bail, but those charges could grow before his preliminary hearing scheduled for the end of the month.

Detectives found 75 pieces of evidence in Davis's home including IDs of students not listed as victims, charging documents show. 

Baltimore County police are currently trying to determine if those IDs were taken in other unreported crimes.

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