Fourth Man In Jewelry Heist Convicted

February 15, 1991|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

The fourth and final suspect in an ill-fated jewelry store heist at Marley Station last April has been convicted of armed robbery.

Robin Leon Wilkins, who had been charged under the alias Stephen Owens, faces a maximum of 60 years in prison after pleading guilty yesterdayin county Circuit Court to armed robbery, conspiracy and handgun violations. Two Virginia men who had pleaded guilty to the same charges were sentenced to eight years in prison last week. Another admitted robber, who has been described as the ringleader, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 25.

The men were convicted on charges stemming from the April 30 robberies at Shaw's Jewelers and Bailey Banks & Biddle Jewel

ers. The four men, armed with handguns, split into teams of two and used identical methods to simultaneously rob the stores about 10:30 that morning.

During yesterday's hearing, Assistant State's Attorney Frederick M. Paone said the men were disguised, wearing wigs and "false eyebrows, almost clown-type makeup," Paone told the court.

The prosecutor said Wilkins was the leader of the team that robbed Shaw's Jewelers.

During the robbery, the men herded employees and customers into back rooms and ordered store managers to empty the contents of display cases into bags. They took about $400,000 in jewels from Shaw's and about $600,000 from Bailey Banks & Biddle.

But luck was not on the side of the robbers, as security guards alerted two off-duty county police detectives who happened to be entering the mall. Within minutes, the detectives and other county officers were chasing a van througha neighborhood across Ritchie Highway from the mall.

During the chase the men accosted a woman who pulled into her driveway on Phelps Avenue, attempted to steal her car and then break into her house. Three of the four men were arrested on the spot. "The county police wereon it like ants on an ant hill. It was a remarkably good piece of police work," Paone told the court.

Wilkins was arrested several weeks later in Florida and was extradited to stand trial. His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Gary Christopher, told the court Wilkins had nothing to do with the incident on Phelps Avenue.

Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. set sentencing for April 15.

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