Suspected Ringleader Gets 18 Years For Heists At Mall

February 26, 1991|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

A Virginia man described as the ringleader in an ill-fated jewelry store heist at Marley Station last April was sentenced yesterday to 18years in prison.

Terrance Lynn McGraw, 30, of Annandale, Va., is one of four men to plead guilty in connection with the million-dollararmed robbery at two jewelry stores in the Glen Burnie mall. At yesterday's hearing, he also pleaded guilty to an armed robbery of a Montgomery County jewelry store in November 1989.

Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme sentenced McGraw to 18 years in prison on each of six counts in connection with the two robberies, buthe ordered the sentences to be served concurrently.

McGraw, who has been described by Assistant State's Attorney Frederick M. Paone asthe chief organizer of the Marley Station robbery, told the court heand his accomplices had not set out to hurt anyone, and he apologized for the trauma store employees may have experienced.

"I don't think any of us really realized that part of it, the emotions those people went through," McGraw said.

McGraw was the third of the four Marley Station robbers to be sentenced. Two Virginia men were each sentenced to eight years in prison. The fourth robber pleaded guilty Feb. 14 to armed robbery, conspiracy and handgun violations and is scheduled to be sentenced April 15.

The men were convicted on charges stemming from the April 30 robberies at Shaw's Jewelers and Bailey Banks & Biddle Jewelers. The four men, disguised and armed with handguns, split into teams of two and used identical methods to simultaneously rob the stores about 10:30 that morning.

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

But 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 through a 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; McGraw shot the lock off the door of the house. McGraw and two others were arrested on the spot. Paone has said most of the jewels were recovered.

In the Montgomery County case, McGraw was one of three men who robbed a Bailey Banks & Biddle store at the Montgomery Mall in Bethesda of $1.7 million in jewels, Paone said. He added McGraw returned the jewels he took home from the heist, but they were only a small percentage of those taken.

McGraw's wife, Linda McGraw, asked Judge Thieme for a lenient sentence. Last October, the two had gotten married in the county courthouse 20 minutes after McGraw had pleaded guilty.

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