Canty, 22, captured in this Washington, D.C., suburb Saturday night by two rookie police officers making a routine car stop, faces an extradition hearing today. If he waives his right to a hearing, the George Washington High School graduate could be returned to Philadelphia as soon as tonight to face murder charges.
Like others who knew him in Philadelphia, his mother said yesterday that she could not believe he was part of a murder.
Vera Brown was alternately distraught, angry and explanatory, complaining that she was being hounded by the media while insisting that her son was honorable.
``He was a good boy. He got with the wrong people,'' Brown said. ``I'm a respectable person. We're a respectable family. Yesterday was bad enough that the news said he was outside a crack house down there. My son has never taken one drug in his life. . . . It tears my heart out to see my son on TV every time the news comes on.''
Brown wondered where she would get the money to pay for her son's legal defense - a $50,000 or $60,000 bill, by her estimate. ``We don't have that kind of money,'' she said.
She said her son was raised right, by people who loved him.
``I've looked at the news so many times, I'm sick of it,'' she said. ``You never know what's coming in your life. You might have a brother or a sister that gets into trouble, and then you'll know how I feel.''
Law enforcement sources said Canty had been linked to the Stenton Avenue holdup through the work of a federal and city task force of FBI agents and police detectives. It was the first time that any of the three men accused of killing Vaird had been tied to a previous bank robbery.
It may not be the last.
Federal and local investigators are continuing to explore Canty's possible involvement, and that of his two companions, in earlier robberies, police said. The two other suspects, rap artists Warren ``Steady B'' McGlone and Christopher ``Cool C'' Roney, both 26, were arrested within days of Vaird's slaying.
The task force also has determined that many of the recent so-called bank takeovers - in which thieves hit a bank as it opens, hoping to get into the vault - were committed by a core group of 10 to 20 robbers. They operate in smaller, ever-changing clusters, according to investigators.
``They break up into splinter groups that go robbing,'' said one top police official.
It's unclear how many robberies the larger group may have committed, he said. Police are turning their attention to that question, having until now concentrated on solving Vaird's slaying.
``We're going A to B,'' the official said. ``You don't look at B until A is done.''
In addition to the Stenton Avenue bank robbery, the police and FBI are looking at whether the same trio may have robbed fast-food restaurants.
Canty had been sought for nearly two weeks before being arrested at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. He was being held without bail at the Montgomery County (Md.) Detention Center.
His arrest brought an end to a police manhunt that began when Vaird walked in on three men who were robbing the PNC branch bank in Feltonville. She died after being shot once in the chest.
Authorities have identified McGlone as the driver of the getaway car, and say Roney hid behind the bank's door and fired the fatal shot from a .380-caliber handgun. Canty was in the bank with Roney, police said.
Saturday night, Montgomery County Officers Mary Doyle and Peter Davidov were on routine patrol in the working-class Lincoln Park section of Rockville. Doyle spotted someone standing outside a known drug house, chatting with the driver of a car that had Pennsylvania license plates.
She circled the block. That's when the Mazda 929 turned on its lights and drove away.
The officers ran a computer check on the license tag, which showed that the car might be carrying someone wanted for homicide in Philadelphia. They stopped the Mazda, and Canty surrendered without resistance. He later told the police, ``I'm the one you are looking for.''
Three Philadelphia homicide detectives who went to Rockville to question Canty have returned to Philadelphia.
Canty remained in Maryland - held at the detention center, a modern-looking concrete building amid snow-covered grounds on Seven Locks Road, near Interstate 270. Jailers there denied a reporter's request to see Canty yesterday.