DUNDALK, MD. — Baltimore County Police have charged a Dundalk man in connection with the theft of two historic gates from Battle Acre Park in Dundalk in June.
George Elias Sotirakis (34) of the 2500 block of Woodwell Road 21222 is charged with theft from $10,000 to under $100,000. He has been released on $50,000 bail.
A contractor that was working on renovations at the park noticed that two 100-year-old gates were missing on June 30. The gates were last seen on June 25.
The gates had an estimated replacement value of $4000 and an estimated actual value of $10,000 due to their historic nature.
Detectives identified George Elias Sotirakis as a suspect through surveillance video, information from local scrap yards, and other investigative methods. Detectives believe that the gates have already been scrapped.
This incident remains under investigation by the Baltimore County Police Department Pawn, Precious Metals and Scrap Metal Team.
Battle Acre Park is part of the field on which the Battle of North Point was fought in 1814.
Sotirakis was charged in Baltimore City District Court with two counts of possession of drugs by Police Officers Bryan Eshkenazi and Sabrina Pehill on March 24, 2014.
On Dec. 22, 2011, Sotirakis was charged with assault and use of a firearm in a violent crime.
In a plea bargain with the States Attorney, Sotirakis was convicted of assault with other charges dropped on June 28, 2012. He was sentenced to two years in prison with all of the jail time suspended by the judge in the case. He was sentenced to unsupervised probation, ordered to forfeit any firearms and have no unlawful contact with Pauline Ahrenberg or have any contact with George Papamanolis. Court costs were waived by the judge.
A theft charge warrant was placed in Baltimore County District Court against Sotirakis on June 18, 2014 by Officer Thomas Wrightson. He was charged for an incident which took place between June 9th and 12th.
A charge of theft was lodged in Baltimore City District Court against Sotirakis on Nov. 7, 2013 and is pending trial.
According to the Baltimore Park’s website, the Battle Acre Park is a one acre site dedicated in 1839 to commemorate those who fought in the Battle of North Point on September 12, 1814. Regiments of the Maryland militia engaged in battles with the British Army at the same time Fort McHenry was defending the Baltimore Harbor from the British Navy.
The success of the Maryland militia forced the British to withdraw from the Chesapeake Region for the remainder of the War of 1812.
On September 14, 1914, one hundred years after the battle, the National Star Spangled Banner Commission erected a monument topped with a memorial cannon, honoring those who fought in the Battle of North Point.
Community groups and the city have been cleaning up and restoring the park in preparation for a ceremony marking the 200th anniversary of the battle on Sept. 12th.