BALTIMORE – For Chris Hughitt, a courier with Magic Messenger courier service, the sideways glances were the worst.
“A lot of drivers would look at me, point, and giggle,” said Hughitt, 29, whose cream-colored delivery van matched the description of one of the vehicles police briefly said they were looking for in the string of sniper killings this month.
Now that police have two suspects, who were arrested in a blue passenger car, Hughitt and drivers of other previously targeted vehicles — including the now-infamous white box truck — are breathing a little easier and getting fewer dirty looks.
But it was a trying three weeks, they said.
For Rose Cupp, a driver for Concorde Transportation Inc., the looks that other drivers gave her in her white van made for a “chaotic” few weeks. Cupp’s company transports airline crews to local airports.
“Every time, you would drive down the street in a white van, people would turn around and look at you,” Cupp said.
Hughitt’s Baltimore-based company serves an area stretching into Rockville and Northern Virginia — much of the same territory that was terrorized by the sniper attacks.
He was relieved when police changed the description of the van they were looking for, from cream to white. At that point, he said, people who had been “abrasive” started to poke fun as they drove past.
“They got a little more at ease when the description came back as a white van instead of a cream-colored (Chevy) Astro,” said Hughitt, whose van is cream colored.
Will Swoboda, a driver for Gold Cup Coffee based in Jessup, said that his van was already a pretty familiar vehicle in the area, so people were not as concerned about him being the sniper.
But he still got some stares.
“As soon as people see a white van, they go uh-oh, I don’t know if it’s this guy,” Swoboda said.
Harold Cornish, 50, said he thinks he was shielded from stares by his company’s logo — Verizon — plastered on the side of his white van But the Baltimore native said he did have one slightly unnerving situation with a police officer.
“One time I was in Howard County, and a cop was picking up his son, he gave me a long once over (in terms of looks),” said Cornish, a service technician at Verizon.
He said he also drove a white van personally before selling it recently. Cornish said that he would have been “absolutely terrified” to drive the van in light of coverage of the sniper’s white box truck.
“The company that I worked for has a pretty recognizable logo, we are a trusted company,” Cornish said.