Baltimore County police said yesterday that two men charged with robbing a video store Wednesday night are suspects in about 20 other robberies in which the pattern was similar.
One of the two men was charged yesterday with four additional robberies, police said.
The men were arrested after county police officers trailed them in their car for about 10 miles on the Baltimore Beltway and into Baltimore, where they were stopped on Martin Luther King Boulevard, said Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a county police spokesman.
Vernon Covington, 25, of the 1500 block of E. Preston St. in the city, and Dana Molinaro, 25, no known address, have each been charged with one count of armed robbery in the robbery of Video Magic in the 7100 block of Security Blvd., Sergeant Doarnberger said.
In addition, police have charged Mr. Molinaro with the July 3 robbery of a WaWa convenience store in the 300 block of Stemmers Run Road; a Mr. Photo store in the 6400 block of Belair Road and a TCBY yogurt store in the 7600 block of Belair Road, both on July 6; and a Baskin Robbins ice cream store in the 8600 block of Philadelphia Road on July 8.
Mr. Covington is being held at the county Detention Center, and Mr. Molinaro at the Woodlawn precinct lockup, both in lieu of $100,000 bail, police said.
Police said Mr. Molinaro, allegedly armed with a handgun, entered Video Magic shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday and handed a clerk a note demanding money. The clerk handed over $233.
Mr. Covington is accused of being the "wheel man" who drove the getaway car, a 1984 Chevrolet Citation that was reported stolen in Dundalk, Sergeant Doarnberger said. Investigators believe the car was used in other robberies.
"We have about 20 of these similar robberies that we're looking into," the sergeant said. "In virtually all of them, [a man] handed a note to a cashier demanding money and threatened them with a gun."
The man either pointed the weapon at cashiers or showed them the weapon tucked under his belt, Sergeant Doarnberger said. Police seized a suspected weapon -- which turned out to be a toy gun -- in the getaway car, he said.
Police also have a description of one of the suspects that matches Mr. Molinaro, Sergeant Doarnberger said. The man did not wear a mask in the robberies.
The string of robberies started in late June and occurred in the eastern and western ends of the county, Sergeant Doarnberger said. The businesses included service stations, convenience stores and gift shops.
Wednesday night, after the robbery of the video store and a description of the getaway car was broadcast over police radio, county Officer Lisa Adelsberger spotted a vehicle matching the description heading south on the Beltway, Sergeant Doarnberger said.