One robbery suspect was arrested and three others were believed hiding inside a Pimlico-area supermarket last night when their getaway was foiled by the arrival of Baltimore police officers.
The police were searching the market aisle by aisle early this morning, working their way toward a rear warehouse area in search of the robbers after a department negotiator was unable to make contact and persuade them to surrender.
Police spokesman Sam Ringgold said the robbers -- at least one carrying a 9mm pistol, another with a sawed-off shotgun -- apparently pretended to be customers until the last shopper had left, then held up the half-dozen store employees about 9:20 p.m. as they prepared to close for the night.
But an alarm brought the police to the Super Pride store in the 3700 block of W. Belvedere Ave. in time to capture one suspect as the others turned and ran back inside, and the employees managed to get out of the store, Mr. Ringgold said.
The unidentified man in custody was carrying a pistol and a bag of money, according to the police.
Two officers armed with assault weapons took up positions at the store's entrance while the negotiator tried without success to elicit a response from the men -- all of whom were believed to be armed.
Then tactical officers were sent inside to begin a methodical search, which was continuing early today.
"We certainly will take our time," Mr. Ringgold said. "We're trying to get through the evening without violence."