The Arundel Mills Mall Incident



"The universe is full of magical things, patiently

waiting for our wits to grow sharper."

-Eden Phillpotts





This report has been an earnest labor to establish the truth.


In late July of 2000, several bricklayers working at a Maryland mega-mall construction site claimed they were badly frightened by a huge, dark, bipedal creature. They reported their experience to police. A policeman investigating at the site also saw something unusual but refused to talk about it in great detail.


So, once the dust settles and the accusations, ridicule, and media circuses are over, we are still left with the question: What really happened out there? While this report may not succeed in answering that question, it may provide the reader with enough factual information to develop an informed opinion.


We believe that the material presented here is accurate. By design, it weighs heavy on facts and light on speculation. If errors exist, we have not recognized them as such. Should we receive additional information that impacts the contents of this report, we will revise it accordingly or append such material. The names used here are real (except where noted) and are only used if they have already become matters of public record by use in the media or if we have been given permission to use them.


Should readers of this report have additional information relevant to this case, we invite them to contact us.





Michael A. Frizzell

Research Director

August 25, 2000

Revisions made March 22, 2001





Report on the Sighting of an Unidentified Animal

at the Arundel Mills Mall construction area




The Mills Corporation, a Big-Board traded (NYSE:MLS), international development company, specializes in building large, extravagant retail and entertainment shopping centers. A number of their past achievements have included Katy Mills (Texas), Ontario Mills (Canada), and Franklin Mills (Pennsylvania). Soon to be included in this impressive array of mega-malls is Arundel Mills. This partially completed shopping complex is located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland at the intersection of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (I-295) and Route 100. With its grand opening scheduled for late November, 2000, the 400-plus acre Arundel Mills site is still a work in progress. The mostly finished central mall buildings are surrounded by a huge, perimeter of excavated soil and rubble (see Figure 1). State politicians and businessmen have high expectations that the mall's 1.4 million square feet of leased space will boost commerce and add millions of dollars in sales tax revenue to State and Local coffers.[i]


Figure 1 - Aerial view of Arundel Mills "mega"-Mall


On the other hand, there are other less optimistic voices that have deemed Arundel Mills just another example of backroom politics and unbridled greed. An article in Chesapeake[ii], the online newsletter of the Sierra Club's Maryland Chapter, largely regards the new mega-mall as serious "mega-sprawl." They assert that from the 250 million dollar project's ground breaking (July 15, 1999) through to its completion, "Arundel Mills will fill 62,155 square feet of wetlands; it will destroy 3,200 linear feet of Piney Run, a nearby waterway, and there will be 490 acres of impervious surfaces." Hundreds of acres of forest have already been removed during the excavation (see Epilogue -Aerial Views).


However, not only living things and ecology were disturbed by the mall's construction. During an initial inspection of the land, just prior to excavation, several pre-Civil War grave sites were found. Mall developers had the remains relocated to another cemetery.[iii]






Date: Monday, July 31, 2000

Time: 12:30 AM

Location: Arundel Mills construction area; New Ridge Road & Clark Road; Anne Arundel County; Hanover, Maryland.

Elevation: 132'

Weather Conditions (Monday, July 31, 2000, 12:30 AM): Mostly cloudy skies; Temp.: 73F;

Visibility: 10 miles; Barometric pres.: 30.06" & steady; Wind speed: 4 mph; Precip.: none.



Principal Witnesses/Participants:


1) Jerry Workman (Arundel Mills construction worker, Age: 24 years);


2) Charles “Chuck” Vance (Arundel Mills construction worker, Age: 22 years);


3) “Charles” (Arundel Mills construction worker, Age: 34 years)[iv]


4) Nicholas DiPietro (Anne Arundel County police officer working in an off-duty capacity as a construction site security officer and who was dispatched to workers' 911 call, Age: early 30s).


Enigma Project investigator Marcus Adams was first alerted to the Arundel Mills incident by a friend who heard a local radio news brief aired on the morning of Tuesday, August 1st. The radio report mentioned that some construction workers at the Arundel Mills site had been frightened by a mysterious creature during the early morning hours of the previous day. Mr. Adams was able to inform this writer of the sighting by 8:00 PM that evening. By 10:20 PM, Enigma investigator, Timothy Arcilesi was contacted regarding the incident. Mr. Arcilesi, who lives within 10 miles of Arundel Mills, was en route to the site by 10:50 PM. He arrived at the mall construction area around 11:10 PM and quickly determined that Clark Road[v] would afford the best public view for the site. Tim loaded a camera with film and began carefully observing the area. He first noticed a police car with roof-mounted floodlights patrolling the construction area about 35 yards north of his position.


In excerpts of his field notes Tim reported:


Tuesday, August 1, 2000


-11:15 PM- Occasional curiosity seekers drive into the construction site. The patrolman quickly approaches and orders them out of the area.

-11:20 PM- Patrolman leaves position and drives to other sections of the site.


-11:25 PM- An early 80's Chevy van drives into site from State Route 713. Vehicle is driven erratically. An individual is sitting in the passenger door/window opening with a flashlight trained to the side and front of the vans path. The van then leaves the site and pulls onto Clark Road. The passenger with the flashlight got out of the van and walked in the direction of a multi-acre "island" of trees on the eastern edge of the Arundel Mills excavation. He is illuminating the area along the old road that enters the site near the trees. He seems excited and concerned with something in that area.


-11:30 PM- a light-colored pickup truck parks near me on Clark Road.

-11:31 PM- a dark-colored SUV parks near me on Clark Rd.


I talked with the occupants of both vehicles. Their close arrival was coincidental. They are unrelated.


There were two guys in the pickup. One was Frank Porter (pseudonym), a college student from Lancaster Pennsylvania. He read an Internet copy of the Baltimore Sun article on the Arundel Mills incident and decided to investigate the matter. The other fellow is unnamed but accompanied Frank for the adventure. Frank and his friend came up to Clark Road after an unsuccessful attempt to enter the construction area (they were asked to leave by police).


The chap in the SUV identified himself only as "Rich." He said he learned of the sighting through the Sun article which had been posted on the BFRO website and was investigating it on their behalf.[vi] He set up parabolic microphone equipment and observed the area for several hours.


-11:40 PM- I approached the man with the flashlight and asked what he was looking for. He told me he saw a large, dark shape running thru the area near the trees. He was excited and convinced that he saw something (a search of the area by Frank and his friend revealed nothing). I discovered that the occupants of the old van, Jerry Workman (passenger), and Chuck Vance (driver), were the two construction workers who made the animal sighting yesterday. I questioned the two workers on the incident for about 10 minutes (details below-M.A.F.).


-11:50 PM- An Anne Arundel County police car pulls up and parks on Clark Road behind other vehicles. I walked over to the vehicle and introduced myself. The driver, a policeman in his early thirties, appeared to be off-duty. He was dressed in shorts and a tee-shirt. I mentioned the incident of the previous night and the man identified himself as Officer DiPietro. Before I could continue, he asked, 'What are you guys doing up here? Has anyone seen anything?' Externally he seemed calm but there was a trace of anxiety in the tone of his questions. I explained who I was, handed him a business card, and asked if he would mind answering some questions about the incident. He said that he was not supposed to talk about it before consulting with the Police Department's Public Information Office. I backed off and tried to keep the conversation going in more general terms. As the situation became more relaxed, he seemed very curious about what I might have learned from Chuck and Jerry. He asked, "What did the two guys from West Virginia tell you? What did they say?" I answered him with a synopsis of the details the two workers had given me moments earlier. "Did they say anything else?" DiPietro asked. I said I couldn't think of anything else. At this point he appeared to confide in me and said, "Now I'll tell you this, just between you and me, this thing was huge and it didn't move when I shined the light on it."


Taking his comment as an opportunity for more information, I asked, "Did you smell anything unusual."


"No." he replied.


"What color where the eyes [of the animal]?" I continued.


"Red." he answered quickly.


"Did you notice any limbs?"


"No." he replied.


Feeling like I was on a roll, I asked, "Could you make out any fur?"


"Not really...was too dark," he said.


I continued my questioning with, "How about that print you found?"


"It's on a hill down by the pond. Probably just a bear." he said.


He then proceeded to tell me about the mother bear and cub that were crossing Interstate 295 recently when a motorist struck and killed the cub. The mother bear ran into the woods and has not been seen since.


At this juncture, he told me that he had to answer a call but said that he would be back. I urged him to contact us, at his convenience, so we could discuss the matter further and assured him that any "sensitive" material would be kept in confidence. With that, he drove away.


-12:05 AM- I noticed that DiPietro drove back into the construction site. He positioned his vehicle facing west, in the vicinity of the drainage pond. He turned on his hand-operated spotlight and began illuminating the area near the pond. He sat there for approximately 45 minutes.

-12:55 AM- DiPietro leaves the site at this point and another officer drives into site apparently replacing him. Replacement officer continues rounds throughout the site.


-1:00 AM - 3:00 AM- Nothing to report.

-3:00 AM- Leaving site for home.


Attempts to get additional information from Officer DiPietro on his view of the details in this case have been unsuccessful.


Chuck and Jerry had apparently overcome their fear from the previous night's experience and returned to the area in the hope of catching another glimpse of the mysterious "thing." As mentioned in the notes above, at one point the two workers believed they spotted something unusual on the evening of their return trip to the site (Tuesday, August 1st). A search of the area did not shed any light on their claim. However, as soon as he realized who he had happened upon, Mr. Arcilesi wasted no time in questioning the two workers about the incident of July 31st. The following account is derived from Tim's interview and relates the experience only from Chuck and Jerry's perspective (A third worker, “Charles” was with Vance and Workman at the time of their alleged encounter. However, Chuck and Jerry indicated that the strange experience was “too much” for Charles as he left the employ of Arundel Mills the following morning).


Bricklayers Jerry Workman and Chuck Vance began work at the Arundel Mills construction site on advice from their union. Vance called South Carolina home and Workman hailed from West Virginia but both men typically performed freelance union construction labor in many different states. On Sunday, July 30, 2000, just before midnight they were preparing to bed down in their van. They had obtained permission to sleep on the construction site and had parked their vehicle about 100 yards north of its southern perimeter and about 100 yards west of the Construction Office trailers. Since they were short on cash and had not yet been paid, they had no money to get a motel room. At about 12:10 AM (now Monday, July 31st), Chuck decided to phone his wife in South Carolina and made a quick stroll across the site to a payphone located near the Construction Office trailers. Jerry remained in the van. On completing his phone call, Chuck returned to the van at about 12:20 AM and the men prepared to retire. At approximately 12:30 AM, Jerry decided to take a quick bathroom break as their van was parked within a few yards of a 'Spot-a-Pot.' Upon exiting the rear doors of the van, Jerry claims to have startled a huge, fur-covered animal that was located about 50 yards from the van. He yelled to get Chuck's attention. The men watched, what they described as a "12 foot tall" fur-covered animal with "glowing, red eyes," run swiftly toward the western perimeter of the construction site.[vii] They said it ran on two legs, hunched over, with hands that hung to its knees. As it fled, they claimed, it bounded atop a 15 foot tall mound of earth, in one jump, proceeded in the direction of a flood drainage pond, and quickly vanished within the forest on the western edge of the site. Thoroughly shaken by what they had just seen, the men jumped into their van and drove to a fast-food restaurant several miles up the highway. At about 12:40 AM, they called 911 from a public phone outside the restaurant and reported what they had observed. In response to the 911 call, Anne Arundel County Police dispatched Officer Nicholas DiPietro who met them at the restaurant and took their statements.[viii] Not wanting to return to the construction site, Chuck and Jerry asked DiPietro if there was a safe place they could park their van and sleep. The officer directed them to a nearby industrial park where they could spend the night (Though he was not on duty at the time of the incident, DiPietro was selected as the responding officer because he was already in the area moonlighting on a nighttime Mall security detail).


Around 3:00 AM, the tired bricklayers were awakened by Officer DiPietro. He asked them if they would return with him to Arundel Mills and show him where all the commotion had occurred several hours earlier. Happy that someone in an official capacity was interested in their harrowing experience, the men agreed, gave him the details of the incident, and led him back to the exact site. With DiPietro in a car and the three workers following in their van, they drove to the drainage pond area on the western border of the construction site. Officer DiPietro began inspecting the area with his vehicle’s floodlight. In its beam they all reported seeing a pair of glowing, red eyes in the tall grass near the pond, about 300 feet from their position. At this juncture, Vance and Workman having already had one frightening encounter too many, decided to return to the safety of their van. As DiPietro’s light continued to scan the grass at the edge of the pond, he spotted a large, dark shape, presumed to be an animal, sitting or lying near the water. Expecting to get some response from the object, DiPietro sounded his vehicle's bullhorn several times. The powerful blasts elicited no reaction from the dark shape as it remained motionless and silent. After about 45 seconds the shape slowly moved away from the pond and disappeared into the nearby woods (see Figure 2)[ix].


Figure 2 - Aerial view showing key features in the Arundel Mills incident


At this point the officer decided to leave the area. Though DiPietro's car became stuck in the freshly excavated soil, with the aid of Chuck and Jerry's van he was freed and they returned to the more solid, central areas of the site (this detail was not mentioned in DiPietro’s incident report). The workers returned to the industrial park for some much needed sleep.


In the police incident report, Officer DiPietro did mention that he observed a large, human-shaped soil impression that was 15 to 20 inches long. Though not specifically stated, it is assumed that this discovery was made when DiPietro and the workers were examining the pond area.


In looking for answers to the mystery, Mall officials and the Anne Arundel County Police Department enlisted the aid of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). On Tuesday, August 1st, the DNR's Wildlife Division sent field investigator, Clifton Horton to examine the construction site. News articles on the DNR's involvement differed on what was or wasn't found, though the official opinion was that a bear had probably visited Arundel Mills. To provide clarity on the DNR's findings at Arundel Mills, this writer spoke with Mr. Horton. Horton stated that his survey of the area revealed a single, suspected bear track. The impression, which had been rained on, measured about 3 inches wide and 6 inches in length (since DiPietro mentions a 15 to 20 inch long print in the police report, one wonders if this was the same impression Horton examined). Horton photographed the track and showed it to a Wildlife Division biologist who specializes in bears. According to Horton, the biologist offered a "seventy-three percent certainty" that the print was made by a bear[x]. Mr. Horton felt that the animal sighted by the construction workers was probably the mother of a bear cub that had been struck and killed on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (I-295) in early June of this year.[xi] However, he also admitted that the solitary bear track was the only physical evidence he found at Arundel Mills.


On Wednesday, August 2nd, Marcus Adams, Tim Arcilesi, and this writer returned to the site (Clark Road) at 12:00 PM for additional information and a daylight view of the area. During that time we took many photographs of the area and spoke with several Anne Arundel County policemen (working as mall security in an off-duty capacity) that work with Officer DiPietro. None of them admitted knowing much more about the incident than what was reported in the papers. However, we did make attempts through two of them to contact Officer DiPietro for more information. As of this writing, those actions have been fruitless.


At 2:00 PM, we left Clark Road and decided to go to the Construction office trailers and find someone in a position of authority who might grant us access to the site for more a more detailed examination. While in the main office, this writer had a brief conversation with Arundel Mills Construction Site Supervisor, Don Stevens (pseudonym). Mr. Stevens said that he also examined the track and offered the opinion that it was made by a bear. Stevens asserted that the track was located on an incline, amidst other normal sized bear prints on level soil, in the far western end of the excavation and appeared to be exaggerated in size as if the animal slipped in its ascent of the hill.[xii] Since bear sightings had previously been reported in areas near Arundel Mills, Stevens also felt that the animal may have been lured into the excavation by food remnants discarded by construction workers.[xiii] On behalf of The Enigma Project, this writer asked Mr. Stevens for permission to examine and photograph the area is question. With obvious regret Stevens denied us access to the site stating that he had already taxed insurance regulations to the limit by allowing several TV news crews into the "hardhat" area. Unfortunately, our timing was off since the media gained admission just before we had arrived.


Later that day, while continuing our survey from Clark Road, an unnamed local resident briefly stopped to give us his opinion of the incident. This gentleman, a chap whom we judged to be about 30 years of age, told us that he had lived in the area for many years. He stated that he spent a number of years hiking and hunting through the forest as seen from Clark Road (western view) in Figure 3, and never experienced anything unusual. When we became distracted by a police vehicle that parked behind our own, this man walked to his car and quickly drove away. The police vehicle, we soon discovered, was occupied by, Steve Jones,[xiv] another off-duty Anne Arundel policeman. He had heard that some "bigfoot researchers" were parked on Clark Road and he was curious about our findings.[xv] We told Officer Jones what we knew about the incident. During our conversation we learned that Jones also worked with Officer DiPietro. Jones told us that DiPietro was being hounded by the press and was keeping a low profile. However, we still asked Officer Jones if he would tell DiPietro that we needed to speak with him. Jones agreed to our request and drove away. At 3:00 PM we left the site.


Figure 3 - View of excavation's western end from Clark Road


As with many news stories that suggest something paranormal, suspicions were voiced that the whole affair was a hoax. With this possibility in mind, this writer called Baltimore Sun newspaper reporter, Laura Barnhardt. Ms. Barnhardt works the Anne Arundel County bureau of the Sun and was the reporter who covered the first story published on the Arundel Mills "creature" incident.[xvi] The purpose in talking with her was to explore the possibility of the Sun being contacted by the construction workers in an effort to generate publicity. Though Barnhardt would not reveal her source for the story, she did state that the workers did not inform her. In fact, she admitted that she never had the opportunity to speak with them at all.


On the evenings of Thursday, August 4th and Friday, August 5th, we continued nightly vigils of the area from 9:00 PM until 3:00 AM, while equipped with cameras, parabolic microphones, tape recorders, and a starlight scope. Unfortunately, this dedication yielded very little reward. Thursday night was uneventful except for a visit paid to us by one of the site security officers. This gentleman, an older fellow whom we had not met before, upon seeing our arrival on Clark Road, took the time to drive from the site to our position and deliver the very stern warning that if he saw any of us on the construction site property he would arrest us. Needless to say, for the remainder of the evening we were on our best behavior.


On Friday evening we were again joined by Frank Porter and his friends from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. With the aid of flashlights, they made two excursions into the western edge of the site but had little to report upon returning. However, around 1:00 AM, as we surveyed the western end of the construction site with powerful floodlights from Clark Road, we detected the curious yellow-green eyeglow of some animals in the distance. With the aid of a starlight scope we were able to resolve them as young deer. A short time later a fox was spotted in the same vicinity.


On the morning of Saturday, August 5, 2000, Enigma Project investigator Tim Arcilesi spent 3 hours hiking through the woods on the western end of the Arundel Mills construction site. During that time he discovered several trails (actually remnants of an old road) that could afford passage through the woods that otherwise would be massive tangles of thorny Bull Briar and dense ground shrubs. In the areas he explored, no specific evidence was found that would support the claims made by the construction workers or Officer DiPietro. However, for the sake of thoroughness, the following photo-documentation is offered. See figures 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8.



Figure 4 - Dense forest on the western end of the excavation



Figure 5 - Deer & bird prints



Figure 6 - Dense briars and tangled vegetation



Figure 7 - Remnants of old road



Figure 8 - More old road



On Monday, August 7, 2000, at about 6:30 PM, Tim Arcilesi and this writer returned to the Arundel Mills site. We made a decision to examine the western perimeter of the construction area as well as the drainage pond and it environs. We spent 2 hours scouring the area for tracks and any form of evidence that would lend support to the claims made in this incident. The excavation was typical of the sandy soil, marl, and water-worn stones found throughout much of Anne Arundel County (see Figure 9). With the possible exception of two items, we found absolutely nothing unusual.



Figure 9 - Excavation on the western edge



Item # 1

As we approached the drainage pond we immediately noticed a roughly 6-foot diameter area of flattened grass near the water, on the northwest slope. The surrounding grass was of the annual rye type that typically grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet (see Figures 10 & 11). Figure 12 shows a roughly 180 degree view from the area of mashed grass. This southeast view, just right of the trees is approximately where Officer DiPietro was positioned when he saw the large shape near the water.







Figure 10 - Flattened grass on Pond's northern slope (center of frame)



Figure 11 - High contrast enhancement of flattened grass near Pond



Figure 12 - View of cruiser's suspected position


Item # 2


When checking the area of DiPietro's "track" find, we were surprised to see a number of scratch-like marks on the hill. While we could not see any defined paw-prints, the 3-4 inch-long scratches in the soil were suggestive of claw marks (see Figure 13). The bare soil area seen above (in Figure 12); just to the left of the trees is where the scratches were found. These marks gave the impression that some animal, possibly a wild turkey, had been rooting. However, as mentioned, there were no pad or foot prints connected to them.




Figure 13 – Scratches (at right) on hill near Pond. Pocket compass at left for reference.


At this point we must mention that the weather in Maryland this summer has been unusually cool and wet. From Monday, July 31, 2000 until Friday, August 11, 2000, there were a number of thunderstorms in the Arundel Mills area--some of them quite violent. This fact must be considered for any soil impressions that would be considered as evidence. The weather conditions at the time definitely aided the deterioration of soil impressions in the excavated areas. In fact, during our visit on August 11th we were hard pressed to find any the footprints we left behind on August 7th.





"It was a bear..."


The total amount of evidence in this case to support any explanation for the incident at Arundel Mills is scanty, at best. Nonetheless, from a purely logical perspective, the available circumstances do support the notion that a bear was in the construction site, as opposed to the hoax or "giant, hairy hominid" explanations (see Figure 14).


Here are the "bear" facts which support the theory that the Arundel Mills site was visited by Ursus americanus (the American Black Bear):


  1. Bear populations in the State of Maryland are on the rise[xvii].
  2. A bear cub was killed by a motorist on I-295 in early June, 2000, only a few miles from Arundel Mills. The accompanying mother bear fled to the nearby woods after the accident.


Figure 14 – A handmade sign posted on Clark Road proclaimed: “Bigfoot was here Aug 1, 2000”


  1. Officials of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are fairly certain that a soil impression they found on the Arundel Mills site was made by a bear.


  1. The idea that Chuck Vance and Jerry Workman were frightened by a bear seems to be the most rational way to explain their claims. When we posed the bear question to them they laughed and stated emphatically that what they saw was not a bear. Workman especially contested that notion, having been born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, he had seen black bears a number of times when hunting and hiking through the woods. Various news reports of the incident had police spokesmen saying, on Officer DiPietro's behalf, that what he saw was probably a bear. Additionally, in the attached police report, DiPietro does say that what he observed at the drainage pond was probably a bear. In his comments to Tim Arcilesi, officer DiPietro also said that the unknown track was likely the result of a bear. Due to the negative publicity the "creature" coverage was focusing on Arundel Mills, it is possible that DiPietro was pressured through the Police Department to default to the bear explanation in public statements even if some possibilities to the contrary lingered in his mind. We suspect that sensationalism and controversy is not healthy for a 250 million-dollar mega-mall project. An example of possible political pressure may have been evident when DiPietro told Tim “that he was not supposed to talk about it [creature encounter] before consulting with the Police Department's Public Information Office”.


  1. Jerry and Chuck did describe the animal’s eyes as having a red glow. Depending on available light, in a dark setting, a bear’s eyes may reflect a deep red color.[xviii]


"It was a hoax..."


  1. Given some of the extraordinary claims in this case, there are certain camps that feel the whole affair is a hoax. Nevertheless, the facts do not heartily support that idea. Newspaper accounts of the incident mention that the construction workers, who reported their experience to police, were quite shaken by the alleged encounter. During our conversations with them their stories never deviated and they seemed absolutely sincere in the telling. In the original police incident report Chuck Vance is listed as the primary “victim” and his mental condition was described as “calm.”[xix]. The two workers were videotaped for an evening television news segment.[xx] However, their delivery was sincere and consistent with what they previously reported to us and the police. Though the controversial nature of the Arundel Mills incident gave Chuck and Jerry some publicity, they did not actively seek the attention. Another point to consider is Tim Arcilesi's account of August 1st, when he reported seeing them drive about the site, with a flashlight, trying catch another look at whatever they sighted the night before. If they lied about what they saw, what would be the point of them engaging in such an exercise?


  1. Beyond the claims made by the workers, we also have the statements made by Anne Arundel County Police officer, Nicholas DiPietro. This officer witnessed some kind of animal at the construction site. His observations, of something unusual, provide support for the claims made by Vance and Workman earlier that morning. Additionally, the police report mentions that Vance and Workman


"It was Bigfoot..."


  1. At 12:30 AM on July 31st, Chuck Vance and Jerry Workman said they were frightened by a dark, 12-foot tall creature with arms that hung to its knees and red eyes. They said it ran with great speed across the construction site on two legs. They were emphatic about the creature's height when we spoke with them.[xxi] They were equally emphatic that what they saw was not a bear.


  1. Nevertheless, in dim light under stressful conditions it seems that judging the height and type of a large animal might be a difficult task. For the sake of comparison, let's consider some additional facts: The American Black Bear typically ranges in weight from 125 to 400 pounds and may reach a length of 5 feet (see Figure 15).


Figure 15 - American Black Bear


They can rear-up on their hind legs and assume a vertical posture, but only for limited periods and they cannot run in this position.[xxii] Furthermore, if Officer DiPietro thought that whatever frightened Chuck and Jerry was a bear, he did not say that to us. In fact, in Officer DiPietro’s conversation with Arcilesi, DiPietro appears to confide in Tim by saying: "Now I'll tell you this, just between you and me, this thing was huge and it didn't move when I shined the light on it." This statement alone adds some level of intrigue and possible doubt concerning the more prosaic explanation for what was observed at the pond.


  1. Perhaps they did mistake a bear for a tall, hairy monster with long dangling arms and glowing, red eyes. Then again, perhaps not. Figure 16 is a representation of what Chuck and Jerry described. Their claim has similarities to many of the alleged Bigfoot/Sasquatch reports that have accumulated over the years. However, the 12-foot height they insist on is at the very upper limit of the ranges that are given in such reports. A more common span of height would be seven to nine feet. The forward angle of the torso and long arms they mentioned are both typical Sasquatch features. The workers did not detect the pungent odor that accompanies many, but not all, Bigfoot sightings.[xxiii] The red eye-glow they reported is another attribute that can be found throughout Bigfoot literature (However, as reported above, a bear’s ‘eyeshine’ may also be a deep red color). If their claims were unique and unprecedented it would be easier to discount them. However, during the last thirty years there have been a number of similar sightings in Anne Arundel and other Maryland counties.



Figure 16 - Representation of what Vance & Workman described




Interestingly, within a 20-mile radius of Arundel Mills, there have been at least 10 sightings of a similar nature (see Figure 17).





Figure 17 - Blue arrow at "1" denotes Arundel Mills



















A most compelling aspect of this case is its multiple-witness status. There are two witnesses who basically described seeing the same thing. And a third witness, reluctant to discuss the matter in depth, but from whom enough detail was obtained to show some consensus. Ultimately, for what Chuck and Jerry said they saw and even Officer DiPietro's claim, support consists primarily of anecdotal testimony. Beyond mashed grass and inconclusive soil impressions, no physical evidence was found.


The logical explanation for this case is that all concerned parties observed a bear at the Arundel Mills construction site. On the part of the witnesses, an assumption is made that the states of mind and environment of being too tired, too frightened, too distant, too dark, and too imaginative have all interplayed to craft this drama.


From the respective viewpoints of the police, the DNR, and especially the Arundel Mills administrators, it's much more "comfortable" to envision a bear on some nocturnal quest for discarded food than a huge, dark, bipedal creature with glowing, red eyes and unknown motives.






At the time of our investigation (August 2000), the Enigma Project made several requests for the original police report filed on the Arundel Mills experience. Though such incident reports are considered to be matters of public record, and are usually available for a nominal fee, we were told that this particular report was not available. In fact, no explanation was given for withholding the report. Over a period of many weeks, we made additional requests for the report and all were denied. We also enlisted the aid of a veteran news reporter to obtain the report and he also was refused access and with no explanation given.


Though we had all but given up on obtaining the mysterious document, Tim Arcilesi made an additional request in the early spring of 2001 (safely several months after the grand opening of the mall). Much to our surprise and delight, Tim’s request was granted.


The official police report is shown below. To protect the privacy of individuals whose identities never became matters of public record and to secure personal contact information (e.g. home addresses, phone numbers, specific towns, etc), such elements have been blacked-out. However, all of the original recorded comments are intact.


In light of the incident report’s information, we have revised the preceding Arundel Mills report accordingly and have also included italicized comments and endnote references where necessary. To our great satisfaction, we discovered that the details of DiPietro’s official report strongly correlated to the information that we obtained from the principal witnesses, news media and other sources.



Arundel Mills Encounter-Police Incident Report


Police Incident Report -Page 1


Police Incident Report -Page 2




Arundel Mills Aerial Views


Clark Road area, Hanover, MD April 8, 1993. Huge outlined area of forest becomes Arundel Mills.


Arundel Mills Mall-2007. Hundreds of acres of forest reduced to asphalt & concrete.






Field Investigations & Interviews Conducted by:

Timothy D. Arcilesi, Marcus Adams, & Michael A. Frizzell

Photographs & Other Visuals Courtesy of:

Timothy D. Arcilesi, Marcus Adams, USGS, & Google Imagery

Additional Notes & Research Information Provided by:

Timothy D. Arcilesi, Marcus Adams, & Michael A. Frizzell

Written & Edited by:

Michael A. Frizzell





P.O. BOX 462

Reisterstown, MD

21136-0462 USA

Phone: (410) 526-6561





[i] Arundel Mills Mall website:


[iii] Arundel Mills Developers find Graves on site ( )

[iv] This individual left Arundel Mills employment the following day. We never had the opportunity to speak with him. We know little about him.

[v] This road skirts the southern perimeter of the site, affords a panoramic view of Arundel Mills and is roughly 100 yards south of where the van was parked the morning of the sighting.

[vi] The Bigfoot Field Researcher's Organization (BFRO) consists of a nationwide network of individuals who investigate Bigfoot reports. Their website can be found at:

[vii] Mr. Arcilesi reported in his field notes that there was some disagreement (possibly due to excitement, brevity and distance) in their description as to whether the animal had two eyes or one eye in the center of its head.

[viii] Though police incident reports are supposedly in the public domain, with copies available for a nominal fee, we were told that this particular report was not available. Our repeated requests for it were denied until March 2001 when Tim Arcilesi again made the request, this time with a successful outcome. That report is attached to the Epilogue of this report

[ix] See page 2 of Officer DiPietro’s official incident report (appended above).

[x] How the DNR biologist determined such a precise degree of certainty was never explained.

[xi] According to Horton, the scene of that accident on I-295 was only a few miles from Arundel Mills.

[xii] Stevens' statement here does not agree with the "single" track find made by the DNR.

[xiii] Barnhardt, Laura, Baltimore Sun, "Tales of creature are tall on interest, short on details," 8/2/2000.

[xiv] Pseudonym. This officer's name is on file with The Enigma Project.

[xv] Due to a minor union dispute, theft of construction materials, and the media event of the sighting itself, Arundel Mills had enlisted the aid of a number of off-duty Anne Arundel County policemen to provide round-the-clock security for the construction site.

[xvi] Barnhardt, Laura, Baltimore Sun, "Policeman, workers track roaming, 12-foot creature," 8/1/2000.

[xvii] Thomson, Candus, Baltimore Sun, "State officials refuse to allow limited bear-hunting season 1953 ban will remain for at least two seasons," Wednesday, July 19, 2000, page 2B.

[xviii] Various animal and insects have a reflective layer in their eyes called the tapetum lucidum. This layer, which augments night vision, will often reflect white light as a specific color. For example, at night, shine a flashlight at a dog or cat and their eyes will provide an eerie glow of a specific color (e.g. dogs can be greenish or bluish and cats can be yellowish). See also:

[xix] See Epilogue for Official Police Report details.

[xx] TV-4 News, 6:00 PM broadcast, NBC affiliate WRC-TV Channel 4, Washington, DC, August 2, 2000.

[xxi] During the interview, for reference Chuck Vance compared the creature's height to some young Sycamore trees we were standing next to. The trees ranged in height from 10 to 12 feet.

[xxii] U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Biologue on the American Black Bear,

[xxiii] At interviews they were asked about unusual odors during the sighting. They did not recall any.




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