Police in three states are searching for a man believed to b responsible for at least 12 armed robberies over the last year, including three in Anne Arundel County where employees were sexually assaulted.
Two of the Anne Arundel robberies occurred last October. The string of 10 other robberies began in August, county police said.
Police released a sketch of a suspect yesterday, and members of the robbery squad plan to meet in Aberdeen tomorrow with authorities from Delaware and Pennsylvania.
"We want to put our heads together and make sure everyone is up on each other's investigation," said Sgt. George Johnson, head of the robbery unit.
The latest robbery in Anne Arundel was on Labor Day, when a man held up the Party N Paper Store at the Annapolis Harbour Center in the 2500 block of Solomons Island Road (Route 2) and Patuxent Boulevard.
Police said a man entered the store about 3:15 p.m., threatened the clerk with a handgun and forced her to give him money from the cash register.
The man then forced the clerk to the back of the store and sexually assaulted her.
Sergeant Johnson said the other two similar robberies occurred last Oct. 2 at the Stuffed Cupboard, also in the Annapolis Harbour Center, and Oct. 19 at the Be Beep Toy Store on Forest Drive in Annapolis.
The other nine robberies were in Pennsylvania and Delaware, police said, and all occurred in the late afternoon.
Most of the victims were sexually assaulted, police said. In some cases, customers walking into the store unknowningly thwarted the attempt, they said. A knife was used in the 1991 robberies, police said, and a gun in 1992.
The Party N Paper Store is offering a $4,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. Metro Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward.