An Annapolis man dubbed the "pony-tail robber" admitted yesterday toa string of robberies at county businesses last January and February.
Gregory Lloyd Gasper, 36, pleaded guilty to five counts of robbery in county Circuit Court. In exchange, prosecutors will recommend no more than 17 years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for March27.
Assistant State's Attorney Frederick M. Paone said Gasper, using a toy gun and passing off a taped bundle of flares as a bomb, robbed a Gambrills dry cleaning shop, a Glen Burnie sub shop, a Crofton doughnut shop and grocery stores in Arnold and Severna Park.
He was arrested in February after three employees at the Safeway in Lake ShorePlaza in Pasadena tackled him and tied him up until authorities arrived.
An employee had spotted a man with a pony tail roaming the aisles of breakfast cereals and frozen foods and realized he matched the description of the robber of other Safeway stores.
Gasper was charged in 14 robberies, including robberies in Prince George's and Baltimore counties and in Fairfax, Va. Paone said Gasper has not been tried for the other robberies.
The prosecutor said Gasper told police he robbed the stores because his business -- the manufacturing of dental appliances -- was failing, and he "very badly needed the money to pay some bills."
In an earlier court appearance, Gasper said hehad been living in his dental lab in the 1900 block of West Street in Annapolis.
Paone said that in the robberies last year, Gasper got $1,500 on Feb. 7 at a Safeway in Arnold, $100 on Jan. 23 at AdmiralCleaners in Gambrills, $205 on Jan. 13 at a Subway restaurant in Glen Burnie and $172 on Jan. 23 at Johnny's Sweet Shop in Crofton.
The prosecutor said Gasper also robbed a Value Food Store in Severna Park on Jan. 24, 1991, of $6,500 in cash and $10,000 in checks, money orders and food stamps.
In that robbery, Gasper displayed what appeared to be a handgun and a bomb to an employee, who told him to wait while she checked with the store manager for instructions, Paone said.