On Dec. 15, 2020, two Baltimore Police detectives were notified of a license plate reader hit for a car they’d been looking for. They’d seen the stolen vehicle on prior occasions, but the driver got away each time.
This time it was parked outside the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Penn North. As the detectives approached, the driver reversed onto the curb, then accelerated forward, striking an open door of a police car. One of the detectives fired four shots at the car, which got away.
Twice more that day, the driver encountered police around the city and fled. And the second time, he crashed and was caught, police said.
It’s one of several times area police said they’d pursued 59-year-old Daniel Scott Moss in recent years. On Saturday night, they say it happened again, with Moss pursued by police throughout the city before crashing in Roland Park.
This time, someone died: his 74-year-old wife, who was in the passenger seat when he lost control.
Family members and friends of Linda Joyce Moss said they were horrified by the news. They said Daniel Moss had charmed the woman 15 years his senior, even as he continued to commit petty and serious crimes, including, they allege, stealing from her.
“I have no idea what the attraction was to this man. I don’t know why she repeatedly chose him over everything,” said daughter Nicole Araujo. “But she didn’t make wise choices. In the end, it killed her.”
The incident has also called attention to the potentially deadly consequences of police chases. The Independent Investigations Division of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, which reviews police-involved deaths, announced that it was investigating the case.
It’s the second time in recent weeks that unit has picked up a case in which someone died during a police pursuit in Baltimore. The other took place Feb. 8, when a man in a stolen vehicle struck a pedestrian and then a vacant home at East North Avenue and North Wolfe Street, causing it to collapse.
Saturday’s incident touched off after police saw a vehicle that was wanted in connection to an attempted armed robbery in Westminster, in Carroll County. Though few details have been released, police scanner audio shows police pursuing the vehicle starting in West Baltimore — like the December 2020 case, again in Penn North — with officers following the car as it went downtown, then looped back up through the area around the Johns Hopkins University.
The pursuit went on for several minutes, and a supervisor can be heard instructing officers toward the end to stop giving chase. It is unclear if they did. The crash occurred in the 5000 block of Roland Avenue.
The attorney general’s office identified the officers Monday evening as Bradley Roberson and Menachem Rosenbloom. Roberson has been with the police department for 1 1/2 years; Rosenbloom for 2 1/2 years.
Police said Daniel Moss was hospitalized and has not yet been formally charged, and thus could not be reached for comment and did not have an attorney.
Westminster police Capt. Jeffrey Schuster said the attempted robbery occurred around midnight Friday, after a person approached someone at an ATM in the Westminster Crossing Shopping Center and pulled a gun. That person got into the passenger side of a vehicle that then took off.
Schuster said police were investigating whether Daniel Moss was involved in the robbery, and declined to provide the victim’s description of the person at the shopping center.
But court records show Daniel Moss was also being sought at the time for a bench warrant in Baltimore County, after he absconded from home detention on a previous case and then failed to appear at a court hearing.
Moss has a long history of arrests and convictions, according to court records. In 2008, he became a sex offender after being convicted of sex abuse of a minor in Baltimore County, and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Linda Moss, who was previously known as Linda Joyce Hill Thomas, met Daniel Moss some time after his release while she was living in Dundalk, her children said. Araujo, her daughter, recalled her mother as “the life of the party.”
The former teacher’s aide was energetic and boisterous, though she had been disabled since the 1990s due to back injuries, according to her son, Paul Yackanicz. She had several back surgeries, and also suffered from fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disease.
Linda Moss’ children claim Daniel Moss stole from her, and caused them to be evicted from her house. She ended up in a homeless shelter for a time, Araujo said.
“I really have not had that good of a relationship with my mom over the last six, seven years because she chose to have this person in her life, and I can’t have that person around me,” Yackanicz said.
Linda Moss was also in the car when Daniel Moss fled police previously, in March of 2020, police said at the time. Court records for that case show that a Baltimore County police officer saw a vehicle on the shoulder of I-695 in Rosedale, and a man standing outside of it. Moss jumped into the vehicle, police said, and sped away.
At one point, Moss made a U-turn and the officer said he saw “an elderly female in the front passenger seat.”
“The elderly female … appeared, by the look on her face, to be in a state of fear,” the officer wrote in charging documents. It was Linda Moss, who at that time said she was engaged to Daniel Moss. The pursuit ended when Daniel Moss crashed into a guardrail and ran away, police said. Linda Moss told police that he took “K-2 spice” earlier that night and “started acting irrational for no reason.”
Police said the car had been taken from a closed body shop.
Charges were not filed until April 30, more than a month later and after Daniel Moss had been charged in another vehicle theft in Baltimore County. The reason for the delay was not clear. Moss was accused of jumping into a vehicle, left running at a gas station, and discarding it. The owner said $200 in cash was also taken.
County officers looked at surveillance footage from the gas station and said they “were able to identify the suspect through several previous contacts for grand theft auto, which occurred recently within the past year.”
Moss was convicted in the April 2020 case and received five years in prison, with three of those years suspended, in October 2021. The city case, in which an officer fired at Daniel Moss, was dropped, with prosecutors saying the owner of the stolen vehicle did not appear for court. County prosecutors put the March 2020 case on the inactive docket, effectively dropping it.
Araujo said that while Daniel Moss was locked up, she was able to reconnect with her mother.
“Then all of a sudden, he’s out of jail, they’re together, they’re getting married, and suddenly her checks are missing again,” Araujo said.
Ida May Muller, 83, met Linda Moss around 2004 at the Westminster Moose Lodge, and they became good friends. She said Linda Moss moved in with her in the spring of last year.
“She was here helping me. She’s a little younger, and she was able to get around better than me,” Muller said in an interview.
Later that year, she said, Daniel Moss moved in as well after getting out of prison.
“He makes you like him. He had a wonderful personality — my boyfriend liked him so much that he lent him his truck,” Muller said.
In October, Muller and her boyfriend both applied for protective orders from Daniel Moss, saying he was stealing things from them and threatened them with violence. Daniel Moss was also cited with more than a dozen traffic tickets related to an incident in which he was charged with eluding Hampstead police, though details of that case were not immediately available.
He returned to jail, until being released into home monitoring in late January.
He had written to the judge in his case, saying he had been wrongly locked up after serving out his sentence and completing parole. “I fully intend to find counsel who will file civil litigation, gross negligence,” he wrote in a letter dated Dec. 30, 2022.
On March 17, a supervisor in the Baltimore County community corrections program wrote to Judge Michael Pate, saying they had removed Daniel Moss from the home detention program “due to having a warrant issued for his arrest by refusing to turn himself in to BCDC for his unauthorized movements.”
Araujo and Yackanicz said they were reeling from the loss of their mother.
“If he had stopped that car, our mother would be alive,” Araujo said.