A call for room service brings the FBI

November 20, 1993|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Staff Writer

An FBI agent dressed as a bellhop led agents into a downtown Baltimore hotel Thursday night, where two suspects in an armored-car robbery were arrested and more than $300,000 was seized, an FBI spokesman reported yesterday.

The men were charged in connection with a Nov. 16 armored car robbery in Charlotte, N.C. A Wells Fargo armored-car driver was knocked unconscious and more than $304,000 was stolen. The FBI identified the suspects as two Charlotte men, Christopher Dwayne Matthews and Kevin Prince, both age 20.

Mr. Matthews was charged with violation of the Hobbs Act for interfering with interstate commerce through an act of force. Mr. Prince was charged with aiding and abetting in the offense.

The men were arrested after they called room service and ordered champagne. An FBI agent dressed as a bellhop went to the room, and when one of the men opened the door, the bellhop and four other FBI agents sprang into the room and arrested them.

"They never did get to drink their champagne," said Andrew Manning, spokesman for the Maryland-Delaware division of the FBI.

Mr. Manning declined to identify the hotel in which the men were arrested.

"The hotel personnel were extremely cooperative with us in catching these guys," he explained. "They helped out a lot. When we get that kind of cooperation, we don't like giving the name. . . . It wouldn't be good for their business."

The FBI identified Mr. Matthews as a suspect when he left Charlotte shortly after the robbery. Several East Coast FBI officers were alerted to be on the lookout for him.

The agents checked a downtown Baltimore hotel and found a registration under the name of Larry Young -- the name of the Wells Fargo driver. A further check revealed that Larry Young's Charlotte address was the same as Mr. Matthews', the FBI said.

FBI agents discovered that the room's occupants had checked out shortly before they arrived.

One of the agents spotted two men who matched the suspects' descriptions in the hotel's lobby. Their second room was identified through a computer run of outgoing phone calls, the FBI said.

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