A man being held in a federal prison in New Jersey has been charged with three armed robberies in Anne Arundel County and is implicated in a crime spree in a total of four East Coast states, police said yesterday.
In several of the holdups, including one in Annapolis, clerks were sexually assaulted after being threatened with either a knife or a gun.
Sgt. George F. Johnson, supervisor of the Anne Arundel police robbery unit, said the man may be responsible for at least 15 armed robberies in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
Alden Gillia Baker, 38, who is believed to live in Delaware, is being held at the Fairton Federal Correctional Institution in New Jersey on charges stemming from a bank robbery in Dover, Del.
He was arrested in Greensboro, N.C., in October after being stopped for a traffic violation.
"It was one of those cases where we didn't have anybody," said AnneArundel Detective Todd A. Young, who worked on the case. "It was almost like chasing a ghost."
The robberies in Anne Arundel all occurred in Annapolis. The first was Oct. 2, 1991, at The Stuffed Cupboard in the Annapolis Harbour Center; the second Oct. 19, 1991, at the Be Beep Toy Store in the 2300 block of Forest Drive; and the third Sept. 7, 1992, at the Party-N-Paper store in the 2500 block of Solomons Island Road. In the last case, a gunman took money then forced the clerk to the back of the store and sexually assaulted her.
At that time, county police released a sketch of the suspect and said he may be responsible for committing 12 armed robberies in three states. They announced a task force with police officers from Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Then, on Oct. 6, the Wilmington Trust Bank in Dover was robbed and a police informant called FBI, saying he recognized Mr. Baker from surveillance photos that appeared on television.
Police said fingerprints taken from the bank in Dover matched those taken from armed robbery scenes in numerous states. Anne Arundel police said several victims from the Annapolis stores identified Mr. Baker as the suspect from mug shots.
When he was stopped in Greensboro, police said, he was driving a car stolen during a carjacking in Austin, Texas.
Police said they are still investigating the robberies, but they believe that Mr. Baker is responsible for at least 15 armed robberies in the four states.
"Baker indicated that he is responsible for numerous other robberies, but could not recall how many or where they were located," a police statement says.
Mr. Baker faces three counts of armed robbery and one count of sexual assault in Anne Arundel County, armed bank robbery charges filed by the FBI and could face additional charges in other states.