Hammer-wielding suspects nailed Jewelry bandits nabbed after chase

September 29, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

Four men wielding hammers smashed the display cases at a White Marsh Mall jewelry store and looted thousands of dollars in merchandise yesterday, then led police on a three-county car chase, authorities said.

During the chase, two suspects were arrested and two others escaped after they fled into woods along Interstate 95 in Harford County, Baltimore County and state police said.

The two captured suspects, Wade Knight, 28, and Marvin Adams, 27, both from Philadelphia, were each charged with robbery and related offenses. The two were being questioned by the FBI last night about similar robberies in Pennsylvania, including an Aug. 14 robbery at a Philadelphia store that netted the hammer-toting thieves more than $100,000 in gold and gems.

Baltimore County police said they believe the men are responsible for numerous "smash-and-grab" robberies this year in the Towson and White Marsh areas. In each case, men with hammers stole such valuables as gold, diamonds and Rolex watches.

Yesterday's incident occurred at the Littman Jewelers store -- the second time since April that men with hammers have robbed the business, police said.

The men charged in about 4 p.m., smashed four display cases and stuffed the jewels into trash bags they were carrying, said E. Jay Miller, a Baltimore County police spokesman.

"Two employees who were there said it happened quite fast . . . they were kind of stunned by it," Mr. Miller said.

The four men, hauling the jewel-filled bags, ran to the parking lot and got into a Buick Park Avenue. The car had been stolen earlier from the mall parking lot, he said.

They drove less than two miles and ditched the car on Mercantile Road. They then got into a 1993 Lincoln Town Car with Pennsylvania license plates and headed toward I-95, Mr. Miller said.

Mall security officers witnessed the switch of the cars and notified police of the Lincoln's license plate number, Mr. Miller said.

Less than 30 minutes later, a state trooper noticed the car parked at a gas station at Mountain Road and U.S. 40 near Joppatowne and approached to question the men, Mr. Miller said.

The men refused to obey the officer's commands and got back into the car and hurriedly drove off on Mountain Road, then headed north on I-95 with state police in pursuit.

About five miles later, near Route 24, the car attempted to once again elude police by pulling off on the exit, driving across an overpass, and getting back on to the southbound lane of I-95, police said.

It was there that the car stopped for a moment and dropped off a passenger, who fled but was quickly captured, police said. The man was carrying some of the loot, police said.

l,.5l Meanwhile, the car continued south, this time with no police in pursuit since officers were busy chasing the man on foot. About a mile away, the driver pulled over again and two men jumped out and ran into the woods, a witness told police. The driver continued south in the car.

State police, Harford County sheriffs deputies and Baltimore County police had converged at the scene to begin a search when they received yet another report of the car -- it was once again heading north on I-95 near the Maryland House rest area.

A trooper chased the car for about seven miles to the Cecil County line and arrested the driver, police said.

In Baltimore County, there have been "about three or four" smash-and-grab robberies by men using hammers, Mr. Miller said.

The other robbery of Littman Jewelers occurred April 14. Police said four men, one armed with a handgun, entered the store about 10 a.m. and ordered a manager to the floor. They then smashed open the display cases, taking Rolex watches and other jewelry.

Following that robbery, Baltimore County and state police unsuccessfully searched local roads and interstate highways looking for the getaway car, a Lincoln that appeared to have Pennsylvania license tags, police said.

On August 5, two men used a hammer to break a display case at the Best Products Co. Inc. store at Towson Marketplace in the 1200 block of Putty Hill Ave. The thieves took a large quantity of diamonds, police said.

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