Articles Posted in Theft Crimes

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handcuffs-354042_640-300x225Montgomery County Police recently arrested a 31-year-old Hyattsville man after responding to a call for an armed robbery at a Safeway in Kensington.  According to police the man and an 18-year-old co-defendant attempted to steal merchandise from the store but were confronted by a loss prevention officer or LPO.  The LPO apparently tried to recover the merchandise from the thieves when the older male defendant pulled out a knife.  During the scuffle the LPO was cut on his chest and transported to a nearby hospital.  Most large retail stores have at least one loss prevention officer always working, and some stores like Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes have numerous LPOs walking the retail floor and monitoring surveillance cameras in the security office.  Loss prevention officers do not have the express power to arrest or detain individuals, but they can file charging documents on behalf of the store.  Typically, LPOs call the police when they observe a suspected shoplifting case, and the officer who arrives on scene issues a criminal citation or files charges with a District Court Commissioner.

The LPO in this case was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, which likely means he did not receive a deep puncture wound that is common in stabbings. Police did not provide a detailed description of the injuries though based on the facts he may have been cut in a slicing type of motion and suffered a laceration.  The defendant was charged with first degree assault, second degree assault, theft and false statement to a law enforcement officer.  He was initially held without bail by the commissioner but released on an unsecured bail the next day at his district court bail review.  The fact that a judge released the defendant tells us that he may not have intended to stab or even cut the victim.  It also likely means that the defendant does not have a history of violent crime or other criminal offenses.  This case is his only case in Maryland visible to the public, which leads to the conclusion that he has no prior convictions in the state.  The defendant has a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 1 at the District Court in Rockville, though the State’s Attorney’s Office will make a decision about whether to file felony charges earlier than the preliminary.  To prove assault in the first degree the State must prove the defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury, as the actual injures here were not life-threatening or permanent.  Based on the defendant’s bail status the first-degree assault is likely a borderline proposition for the State, but we would not be surprised if they indicted him and then let it play out in circuit court.

The Blog will continue to follow this case and may post a follow up article in the future.  If you or a loved one has been charged or is being investigated for an adult or juvenile crime in state or federal court, contact Maryland assault lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation.  Benjamin specializes in domestic violence cases such as assault by strangulation, false imprisonment and protective order violations.  He is also a skilled gun crime lawyer who handles assault with a firearm, which is considered a felony regardless of whether the gun was fired or otherwise caused actual physical harm.  Simply brandishing a gun in a threatening manner can result in felony assault under Maryland law.  Finally, if you have been charged with theft or theft scheme Benjamin will fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced.  Typically, when there is a theft and an assault the defendant will also face robbery charges, but this case presents yet another unique set of facts in the criminal justice system.

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hammer-620011_640-300x225Anne Arundel County Police recently charged one of their own, as a former employee of the department now faces multiple counts of theft related to misuse of a county E-Z Pass transponder.  The defendant, a 58-year-old man who hails from Odenton, was not a sworn police officer, but rather a civilian employee of the fifth largest police department in Maryland.  He is accused of using a county issued transponder on over 70 personal trips, which included drives to and from Delaware, Virginia and even New Jersey and began as early as 2020.  The former employee drove a county vehicle for work purposes with the department, but apparently removed the transponder and affixed it to his personal vehicle for trips.  The total amount of the theft was under $1,500, meaning the defendant appeared to have avoided any felony charges.  He was however charged with seven counts of theft less than $100 and one count of theft scheme from $100 to $1,500.  Police picked up on the suspected unlawful pass use back in September and initiated an investigation.  The State’s Attorney’s Office made the decision to pursue the case after being presented with the findings from investigators.

In lieu of being arrested by his former colleagues, an officer of the Anne Arundel County Police Criminal Investigations Division requested that the defendant be summoned for court.  The District Court of Maryland in Annapolis issued a summons for the defendant on January 3, and he will have to appear for trial in the coming months.  Theft cases in Maryland are typically charged by summons or criminal citation provided the defendant has a verifiable address and the police or the commissioner is satisfied that he or she would appear in court as directed.  Large scale felony theft cases are routinely initiated through the issuance of an arrest warrant, though we have seen felony thefts charged via summons. Additionally, larger scale thefts by county or state employees also frequently accompanied by other serious charges such as misconduct in office.  Misconduct in office is a common law misdemeanor that carries a real possibility of jail time even for first time offenders.  This charge has no set maximum penalty and should be handled by with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

While the defendant in this case avoided felony theft and misconduct in office charges, he will still have to answer for his alleged public trust violations.  The fact that the defendant is accused of unlawfully using the transponder dozens of times will not help his cause, though if the case is handled properly there is an excellent chance that he will avoid jail time and a permanent conviction.  The top charge of theft scheme $100 to $1,500 carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and a $500 fine under Maryland criminal law section 7-104.  Subsequent offenders face up to 1 year in jail for this same offense provided the State issues notice to the defendant at least 15 days before trial.  Based on this maximum penalty the defendant could elect to have a jury trial at the Circuit Court in downtown Annapolis, though it is too early to tell whether this would be an appropriate strategy.  The seven remaining counts for theft less than $100 carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail.  This charge is often associated with shoplifting or theft of services.

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hammer-719066_960_720-300x225On October 1 the Maryland Redeem Act became state law, and now thousands of individuals can file to expunge prior criminal convictions that were once considered permanent.  The Redeem Act is a major breakthrough for those who have struggled to advance in the workplace, obtain professional licenses and secure loans or apartment leases.  It provides an avenue for prior defendants to apply for expungement in numerous types of charges, including felony drug cases.  In addition to adding more charges to the list of qualifying offenses, the law also shortens the wait time necessary to apply for expungement.  The relevant portion of the Redeem Act is codified in the Criminal Procedure section 10-110 of the Maryland statutes, though the section lists the crimes by statute number and not name.  It is advisable to have your charging document handy when checking to see if your prior offense qualifies, or you can consult with a Maryland criminal defense lawyer.

In this post we’ll go through some of the major changes to the expungement laws, but for a more detailed analysis about your particular situation, feel free to call Maryland expungement lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime at 410-207-2598.  The Herbst Firm handles expungements and petitions for early expungement based on good cause.  It’s safe to say that the drug laws have been impacted the most by the Redeem Act, as convictions for possession with intent to distribute are handed out like candy in the courthouses across the state.  Many a defendant has accepted a guilty plea to this crime to get out of jail or simply to close the case and move on with life, only to have it severely hinder personal growth in the future.  If the criminal defense attorney on the case did not successfully argue for probation before judgment or if a timely motion to modify was not filed within 90 days, the conviction used to last a lifetime.  Though as of October 1, there is hope for anyone with an old PWID or distribution charge, as an application to expunge may be filed 7 years after a time served disposition or 7 years after probation or parole has ended.  Anyone with a marijuana distribution or PWID conviction can file for expungement 3 years after the disposition or the end of probation or parole if applicable.

Felony theft and burglary may be expunged after 10 years, but other felony charges have yet to be added to the list of crimes that are eligible.  This includes motor vehicle theft, which is not one of the offenses that is currently expungable under Maryland law.  Gun crimes have also not been added to the list of expungable offense.  On the positive side, misdemeanor offenses such as CDS possession not marijuana, burglary in the 4th degree, malicious destruction of property, disorderly conduct, prostitution, obstructing and hindering and various others are expungable after 5 years of the conclusion of the case or the end of probation/parole.  Prior convictions for domestically related crimes such as second degree assault and violation of a protective order are not eligible for 15 years.  If assault in the second degree or protective order violation convictions were not marked as domestically related, they would be eligible after 7 years for assault and 5 years for violation of a protective order.

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22186_klauandlauf-300x225Three young men were recently arrested by Prince George’s County police officers following a traffic stop of an SUV that had been flagged by law enforcement for criminal involvement.  The driver of the SUV was arrested on the scene, while the two others were arrested shortly thereafter.  After arresting the driver, police sought and received a warrant to search his District Heights apartment.  During the search police of the apartment and an additional home, police found a trove of stolen merchandise totaling over $10,000.  The merchandise linked the defendant and his co-defendants to as many as 10 different thefts that occurred from September 13 to October 1.  Police apparently discovered that the group was offering the merchandise for sale online and through personal referrals.  This theft bust puts just a tiny dent in what has become a shoplifting epidemic over the last couple of years.  The situation in the Washington D.C. metro area has become so dire that some stores are declining to stock frequently stolen items such as detergent and cosmetics.  The issue is not limited to Washington and Baltimore however, as retailers have suffered billions of dollars of losses in recent years, as the so called “shrink” numbers continue to rise.

Police will apparently continue to investigate the trio of defendants, and additional charges may be forthcoming.  For now, the driver, a 19-year-old from Suitland, is facing the brunt of the charges that include 14 counts of theft related offenses from the aforementioned ten different incidents.  Many of the incidents are alleged to have occurred in succession, with charges being filed on eight consecutive days from September 13 to September 20.  Eight of the 14 charges are felonies, including a catch-all theft scheme charge of $1,500 to $25,000.  The driver was released on a $5,000 bond and is due back in court in the middle of November.  It does not appear that he has any adult prior convictions in Maryland, and his juvenile record is not accessible by the public.  The oldest co-defendant is a 26-year-old also from Suitland, who has additional pending theft charges out of Queen Anne’s County, while the youngest defendant, an 18-year-old, is facing two theft charges from an alleged incident on September 13.  The Blog will continue to follow these cases and other similar theft schemes and may post a follow up article in the future as the cases progress.

If you or a loved one is facing theft charges or any other criminal charges in Maryland contact Prince George’s County criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation.  Benjamin has successfully defended hundreds of clients in theft charges ranging from shoplifting to felony theft over $100,000.  He is also an experienced juvenile theft lawyer who fights to protect the futures of all his clients.  Benjamin routinely takes on complicated fraud and employee theft cases, as well as embezzlement and misconduct in office.  He is licensed to practice in the federal courts of Greenbelt and Baltimore City, where he specializes in theft of government property and other federal charges.  Maryland theft lawyer Benjamin has defended clients in every jurisdiction from Worcester County to Allegany County and is available 7 days a week for his clients.  He has locations in Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City and can meet at a convenient location in the Eastern Shore for clients facing charges in Salisbury, Ocean City, and Queen Anne’s, Dorchester and Talbot Counties.  All clients are provided with cell phone access to Benjamin for off hours access, as we firmly believe constant communication is essential to providing excellent Maryland criminal defense representation.  Contact Benjamin at 410-207-2598 to learn what defenses may be available in your case and to start preparing to take on the state or federal government.

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handcuffs-354042_640-300x225Montgomery County Police recently reported the arrest of six individuals in a brazen theft scheme that involved at least eleven different stores on the Maryland side of the D.C. Metro area.  Many of the incidents happened at retail stores in Bethesda, and some of the suspects appear to be connected to additional crimes in Anne Arundel County and Washington D.C.  The crimes, which have been labeled as “pack thefts” by law enforcement, are hardly sophisticated and involve a strength in numbers tactic.  Most of the incidents were caught on surveillance camera, but the masked thieves did not seem to care as they ransacked the stores in unison, stuffing expensive cosmetics and other items into trash bags and shopping carts. Store employees and onlookers stood by reluctant to intervene as the individuals made off with thousands of dollars of merchandise.  In one of the videos released by law enforcement an onlooker was observed on the phone speaking with 911 dispatch, but law enforcement arrived after the bandits had fled the scene.  According to police many of the offenses were committed using stolen vehicles that were carjacked or boosted from Washington.  One of the juvenile defendants is connected with specific carjackings and armed robberies and will likely be charged as an adult.  Both armed robbery and carjacking are considered violent offenses that the juvenile court does not have original jurisdiction over if the defendant is 16 or older.

Only two of the six defendants were actually adults, and the youngest of the arrested individuals was merely 13 years old.  The two adult defendants appear to be siblings, and the male was held at the Montgomery County Detention Center without bail after his arrest.  This individual, a 28-year-old from D.C., was arrested in mid-June after he apparently crashed a stolen vehicle.  He was charged with motor vehicle theft, unauthorized removal of a motor vehicle, felony theft, conspiracy and malicious destruction of property.  Police also issued the defendant numerous traffic citations including reckless driving and driving without a license.  In a separate but similar case, the same individual was charged with felony theft scheme and malicious destruction of property for accusations dating back to April.  The female adult defendant was arrested 5 days after her brother in Washington and was released.  She also has a pending case for assault and violating a protective order in Prince George’s County.  While the juvenile defendants’ charges are sealed from public view, they are likely charged with the same offenses that include theft $25,000 to $100,000.  This felony offense carries up to 10 years in prison upon conviction.  This also means that the conspiracy charge would carry the same 10-year maximum penalty as a common law offense.  Police are alleging that the total value of items stolen in Montgomery County was $49,000, with tens of thousands more in merchandise potentially being stolen in Washington and Anne Arundel County.  The investigation is still ongoing, and more charges may be in store for the individuals involved.

The Blog will continue to follow this case, and other similar theft schemes in Maryland.  Police all over the state are now well aware of the rampant pack theft trend, but there does not appear to be any specific law enforcement tactic to prevent these crimes other than old fashioned police work.  This means reviewing surveillance camera footage from the store and the surrounding streets, interviewing witness who may have seen identifying marks or tattoos on the suspects and performing a forensic evaluation of the scene.  Now that police arrested six suspects, they may be able to further link known associates to additional crimes, and we’ll post a follow up article if that becomes the case.  If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime contact Maryland theft lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime for a free consultation.  Benjamin specializes juvenile criminal defense in Maryland, and has successfully argued for the dismissal or transfer of dozens of juvenile cases including robbery, burglary, handgun possession, attempted murder, carjacking and motor vehicle theft.  He handles cases in Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore and the entire Eastern Shore, and is available 7 days a week for a free consultation at 410-207-2598.

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jaguar-1366978_960_720-300x169Baltimore County Police have reported a 542% increase in juvenile motor vehicle thefts this year compared to last year, with some of the offenders being as young as 12 years old.  The trend is especially concerning to police because the vehicles are often used to commit other offenses such as robbery, burglary and theft and even murder.  Surveillance cameras affixed to street lights, business and home doorbells are a powerful law enforcement tool to track vehicles that are involved in crimes, but if the cars are stolen these leads will often turn up empty.  Hyundai and Kia vehicles from the end of the last decade have been a prime target for these thefts due to their lack of electronic immobilizers, but detectives from the auto theft task force have been adamant that almost all cars are at risk.  It’s often as simple as a person leaving the keys in vehicle, as would be thieves often try to open dozens of car doors before finding an easy target.  Auto theft detectives have expressed frustration over the Maryland juvenile criminal system, as young car thieves are routinely released from custody almost immediately.  In their opinion this has led to a rash of repeat offenses, because there is little deterrent to continuing to commit theft crimes.

The rise in juvenile car thefts is not limited to Baltimore County, as theft and unlawful taking of a motor vehicle are common juvenile offenses all over the state of Maryland.  Just last week four teenagers were arrested theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in Charles County.  As is the normal course of non-violent juvenile cases, the teens were set to be released to guardians, but it turned out that the guardians showed up to the police station in a stolen vehicle themselves.  The guardians were dropped off at the police station without incident, and officers went looking for the car after they realized it was stolen.  Upon seeing police, the driver of the vehicle panicked and allegedly almost hit one of the police officers as he was attempting to flee.  Cops eventually stopped the car, and three more juveniles were located in this stolen vehicle and charged with unauthorized use.  One of the juveniles was a 16-year-old with outstanding arrest warrants and another was a 13-year-old girl who was reported missing from another county.

This incident happened on the same day that 5 young adults were also arrested for motor vehicle theft in Charles County after officers patrolling in Waldorf located two stolen Hyundais in front of a business.  Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop of these vehicles but the driver fled.  All five suspects were eventually arrested and charged related to this vehicle and allegedly several others.  One of the defendants, a 21-year-old male from Washington D.C. was held without bail, likely due to the fact that he has another open motor vehicle theft case in Howard County and an open burglary case in Charles County.  By all accounts this means there were at least 10 juveniles or young adults arrested in Charles County for auto theft related charges in a single day, so it’s no surprise the numbers are skyrocketing in Baltimore County as well.

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913166_atm-154x300Baltimore County Police recently arrested a 34-year-old man for attempting to steal an ATM from a bank in Owings Mills.  According to reports, police responded to the bank around 3:30 in the morning for a burglary in progress.  Officers found a truck backed up to the bank with chains wrapped around the ATM, and a suspect who immediately fled upon police arriving.  The suspect was apprehended after a short chase through the woods, and subsequently charged with multiple crimes including felony second-degree burglary and felony theft.  He also faces charges for malicious destruction of property and misdemeanor fourth-degree burglary.  The defendant was denied bail by a District Court judge and remains incarcerated at the Baltimore County Detention Center in Towson.  He does not currently have a trial date, as the case will likely be indicted in the circuit court prior to the January 28th preliminary hearing.  This arrest created additional headlines because it turns out that the defendant was actually a Baltimore City Department of Public Works employee.  The truck used in the burglary is also owned by the city, and was recently reported stolen in Carroll County.  The front license plate and city’s emblem on the vehicle were concealed with tape during the attempted burglary, but clearly the secret is out.

It appears that the defendant may also be facing a probation violation in the near future for a case out of Baltimore City, which could have contributed to him being held without bail.  In 2014 he was found guilty of armed robbery and use of a firearm in a crime of violence, and sentenced to 20 years with 10 suspended.  Following his release from the division of corrections he was placed on 5 years of probation.  A defendant serving a 10-year sentence for a violent offense typically serves 5 to 7 years before being released.  Since the offense occurred in September of 2012, he was probably released from prison in 2018, which means his probation is likely still active.  As of today, there is no information on Maryland judiciary case search that states a violation of probation warrant was issued, though Baltimore City is notorious for not updating their cases promptly.

The Blog will follow this case as it travels through the county court system, and may post a follow-up article in the future.  The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison for the  second-degree burglary charge, while the felony theft charges carries up to 5 years in jail.  He also faces up to 3 years each for fourth-degree burglary and malicious destruction of property over $1,000.  There were some questions raised as to how a person currently on active probation for armed robbery was hired by the city, but our hope is that those with criminal convictions will always have job opportunities upon their release, as stable employment is a key factor in reducing recidivism.  The Blog will also continue to follow theft and burglaries involving ATMs, as there has been a string of these cases lately in Maryland.  This past week in Baltimore City four defendants backed a van into a building, loaded the ATM and fled the scene.  The building in this case was severely damaged, and suspects are yet to be identified.

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courtroom-898931_1280-300x226A former high ranking official for the Maryland Governor has pleaded not-guilty to four federal charges of wire fraud and two charges of misappropriation.  The 52-year-old former chief of staff to the Governor is accused of various missteps including using funds belonging to the State of Maryland to make a charitable contribution to a museum where he was a member of the board of directors.  The funds came from the Maryland Environmental Service corporation, where the defendant served as executive director prior to taking a position with the governor’s office in Annapolis.  Perhaps the most egregious allegation was that the defendant caused the board at his former employer to approve paying him a full year’s salary, over $200k, upon leaving to take the job with the governor.  The defendant apparently told the board that the governor himself approved to so called severance package, though the governor has vigorously denied any such approval.  In total, the former chief of staff is facing up to 100 years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.  He will obviously not serve anywhere close to the maximum amount of jail if convicted, but the charges are certainly severe.  The government informed the Federal Judge in the Baltimore courthouse that trial would take two weeks to complete, though there is no indication on whether advanced plea negotiations are taking place.  Discovery is apparently voluminous, and the defense needs time to assess the case before advising the client.

The same defendant is also facing a 27-count criminal information in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County for various other state offense including misconduct in office and violations of Maryland’s wiretapping laws.  There are allegations that the defendant secretly recorded conversations with the Governor and other high ranking state officials.  The state case has not been set for trial yet, and has a status conference scheduled in the middle of December.  There will likely be a ton of evidence for the defense to sift through in order to properly evaluate the case, so we do not expect a swift resolution.  Both cases may end up in trial or the defense may be able to work out some sort of global plea agreement.  Right now it is simply too early to tell which direction these cases are headed, but the Blog will post a follow-up article as news becomes available.

Maryland has strict laws regarding the recording or intercepting of private conversations and telephone calls, and each violation is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  Even if another person uses or publishes a recording that has been intercepted unlawfully it could be a crime as long the publisher should have known a the recording was illegal.  Maryland is considered a two-party state when it comes to recording or intercepting conversations, which means both parties must be aware of the recording.  There are exceptions including when the police are conducting active investigations for a host of different crimes including murder, kidnapping, sex offenses, robbery, bribery, fraud, felony theft, firearms crimes and drug distribution.  In these cases the police may intercept wire, oral or electronic evidence in order to provide evidence of the crime.  The Maryland wiretapping law is codified under Title 10 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings section of the state laws, and not the criminal law section.  Subtitle 4 of the evidence part of this section covers wiretapping and electronic surveillance, and section 10-402 is the actual wiretapping law.

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jaguar-1366978_960_720-300x169Last week in Baltimore City a 49-year-old man from Columbia, Maryland was sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for operating an international stolen car scheme.  Upon being released from prison the Howard County resident will be placed on three years of supervised release, as there is no parole in the federal correctional system.  According to the facts presented by the government, and pursuant to his plea agreement, the defendant admitted to participating in the theft and exportation of at least 17 automobiles.  The cars were either stolen from private owners or from rental agencies, and then shipped overseas after a sale was negotiated.  The defendant attempted to avoid detection from customs officials by creating fraudulent paperwork, which misrepresented the contents of shipping containers.  Most of the cars were shipped to Africa and likely left from the Port of Baltimore or transported to other ports by truck, though the government’s press release did not reveal the specifics.

Law enforcement caught on to the scheme pretty early in the process, and were conducting surveillance on the defendant as early as January of 2019.  During this first encounter, Howard County Police and Homeland Security approached the defendant and questioned him about the stolen vehicles, but the defendant denied any involvement and was not taken into custody immediately.  In fact, the defendant was not arrested until March of 2020, giving law enforcement ample time to build a strong case.  Search warrants were executed on the defendant’s cell phones that revealed pictures of the stolen vehicles as well as communications to and from shipping companies, and law enforcement also recovered numerous emails from the defendant’s fictitious identity that he used to facilitate the illegal transactions.  The defendant was ultimately arrested inside a rental vehicle that was rented through fraudulent means, and was overdue.  After being questioned by law enforcement the defendant eventually admitted to knowing that the vehicles he shipped were stolen, and that he misrepresented the contents of containers to the shipping companies he contracted.

The defendant entered a guilty plea to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit interstate foreign transport of motor vehicles and knowingly transporting stolen vehicles.  Transporting stolen vehicles under 18 U.S. Code § 2312 is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  Unlike a charge for transportation of stolen goods, securities or moneys under 18 U.S. Code § 2314, the government does not need to establish a minimum value of the vehicle(s) in order to prove its case.  A felony charge for interstate or international transportation of stolen goods requires a minimum value of $5k.  Regardless of whether value is an essential element of the offense, value of the scheme has a dramatic effect on the federal sentencing guidelines score, and the eventual sentence.  The estimated value of the cars in this particular scheme was over $850k, which means his sentencing guidelines increased by at least 14 levels based on the value of the scam alone.  There were likely other aggravating factors that the judge took into account, as a 7-year term of incarceration is a considerable sentence for a theft scheme with a total value of less than $1 million.  As we explain on the firm’s Maryland website, the value of any federal theft is a key factor in determining the likely outcome of a case, and an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can explain the impact of the sentencing guidelines in more detail.

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money-943782_960_720-300x225This past week in the Baltimore federal courthouse a 26-year-old defendant pleaded guilty for his involvement in three separate robberies in the Baltimore metro area.  The first robbery took place in October of 2019 at a Baltimore City pharmacy.  In this particular incident the government presented evidence that the defendant and his co-conspirator entered the pharmacy just as it opened in the morning, and while donning masks, gloves and glasses brandished a black revolver and demanded cash from the safe.  The clerk gave the men over $1,600 and then was bound with zip ties while the pair fled in the victim’s vehicle.

One month later the two defendants committed a second robbery in Anne Arundel County.  This robbery took place at a retail store, where the defendants entered right at closing time.  Once again, the pair were clad in masks and gloves and carrying handguns.  After taking over $3,000 from the store and striking a victim in the head, the defendants fled the scene in the victim’s vehicle.  The final robbery was committed in December of 2019 in Baltimore County restaurant in Parkville.  The defendants entered the restaurant at 7 a.m. just as the shift manager and another coworker were opening for the day, and once again the defendants brandished a firearm and demanded money from the restaurant safe.  After stealing close to $4,000 from the safe and binding the victims with zip ties the defendants fled in one of the victim’s vehicles.

One day after the third and final robbery Baltimore County Police detectives located the stolen vehicle and surreptitiously outfitted it with a GPS tracker.  Two days later police followed the vehicle as it moved and eventually attempted to effectuate a traffic stop.  The defendant abandoned the vehicle and then fled on foot, but was then apprehended a short time later on Harford Road.  After being arrested the defendant agreed to speak to police, and claimed he found the stolen vehicle that day and was merely taking it for a joy ride.  Law enforcement officers obviously were not convinced and ended up charging him with robbery, assault in the first degree, motor vehicle taking and felony theft.  The case was forwarded to the Circuit Court for Baltimore County with additional charges for use of a firearm in a crime of violence and CDS drug charges.  In November of 2020 the case was nolle prossed after the feds decided to pick it up.  While the U.S. Attorney’s press release does not mention the specifics, the feds were likely alerted after local law enforcement discovered the defendant’s involvement in the two other robberies.  A search warrant was executed on the defendant’s phone, and law enforcement found pictures of large amounts of cash on the same day as the first robbery.  Cell phone tracking data also showed the defendant was in the area of the first two robberies on the dates in question.

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