Crownsville worker, patient plead guilty in plot to rob credit union

October 30, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

Armed with a gun and a plan, two men drove from Crownsville State Hospital to a Fort Meade credit union to rob it. But while they went over their scheme in the parking lot, a security guard locked up and went home.

Yesterday, the pair paid the price for their botched Feb. 25 holdup. Charles Pettit, 42, a supervisor at the psychiatric hospital, and Mark Hodski, 33, a patient, each pleaded guilty in Anne Arundel Circuit Court to one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Judge Bruce C. Williams Jr. set sentencing for Jan. 11.

Police say Pettit approached Hodski sometime after September 1991 and asked him if he "ever wanted to knock off a bank."

Pettit, a supervisor in a patient training program, convinced Hodski to take part in a robbery. He promised to supply a gun and a hospital van with its state logo hidden by a magnetic sign, police said.

Hodski later recruited another patient, Francis DeMay, 30, of Ferndale.

On Feb. 25, DeMay and Hodski took the hospital van, disguised as a florist delivery truck, to the Fort Meade Community Credit Union. But while they talked outside, the credit union closed.

The would-be robbers returned to Crownsville, where the gun was found a month later after a patient reported it to security. Confronted with the gun, Hodski gave state police a 28-page typed statement detailing the operation.

DeMay also has been charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery. His case is set for later this year.

Assistant State's Attorney Fred Paone yesterday recommended a suspended jail sentence for Hodski and a five-year cap on any sentence imposed on Pettit.

He said Pettit planned the incident, but seemed reluctant to call him the "mastermind" of such an operation.

Assistant Public Defender Robert Waldman, who represented Hodski, said his client was about to be discharged from Crownsville at the time, and wouldn't have participated if he hadn't been pressured by Pettit, who was his instructor.

"My client was under the thrall of his supervisor and I firmly believe he averted what could have been a real catastrophe," Mr. Waldman said.

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