A Washington man was charged Wednesday with the Nov. 18 armed robbery of a Peoples Drug store in Columbia, one of 16 area Peoples stores robbed in the past two years by a band of men whose trademark was thewalkie-talkies they carried.
Jeffrey Kendall Adams, 34, of the 3000 block of Stanton Road, has been charged with robbing $3,812 from the Peoples store in the Harper's Choice Village Center and with two other Peoples robberies in Montgomery County and Washington, police said.
Investigators said Adams formerly worked for the Peoples Drug chain for six years before company officials ordered him to leave his assistant manager's job in 1990.
Although he has been charged with only three robbery counts, Adams is being investigated as a suspect inthe string of robberies, said county police Detective Greg Marshall.
Since early 1990, a three-member gang has robbed Peoples stores throughout the Baltimore-Washington area, escaping with large amounts of money after leaving employees tied up with duct tape, police said.
In all of the robberies, employees reported, the gunmen used walkie-talkies to communicate with a contact who acted as lookout outsidethe building.
Adams was arrested by District of Columbia police officers Nov. 18 after the officers broke up a robbery in progress at a Washington Peoples Drug store. He posted bail later that day and, according to police, committed the Howard County robbery four hours later.
Employees of the Harper's Choice store said two of the three robbers hid in a storage room and waited until the store closed, after which they emerged and announced a robbery, court records said.
One of the men maintained regular contact with the lookout by using the walkie-talkie while the other tied up the employees, the court document said.
The suspects appeared to be familiar with the store operation, and the methods used -- hiding in the storage room, walkie-talkie communication, and the duct tape binding -- were identical to those in other Peoples robberies, court records said.
Other robberies were also reported in Prince George's, Charles, and Montgomery counties, as well as Alexandria, Va., police said.
Adams was arrestedby Montgomery County police Jan. 3 and charged with armed robbery. He remained Friday at the Montgomery County Detention Center on $200,000 bond.