The former owner of a Pikesville jewelry store was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with robbing four banks, three of which the robber had threatened to blow up with a hand grenade.
Bruce David Schein, 35, allegedly told police "that he was not a criminal person, but that he had fallen on hard times, and had lost his business and was about to lose his house," according to District Court charging documents.
Detective Philip R. Wood also wrote in the charging documents that Mr. Schein, of the first block of Jones Falls Terrace, said the robberies were "an act of desperation."
Police say Mr. Schein, who is divorced and has a 7-year-old daughter, robbed four Baltimore County banks of $7,763 between Jan. 21 and Tuesday. He allegedly robbed one Maryland National Bank branch twice.
According to the court documents, Tuesday's robbery occurred when a man entered the Maryland National Bank branch in the 2300 block of Smith Ave. in Pikesville and handed a teller an envelope with a note that read:
"I have a live grenade! Give me at least $2,000 from each teller. No dye packs, no transmitters, no tricks!! Fast."
The same bank branch, and the same teller, were robbed Jan. 21 by a man who had a note and claimed to have a live hand grenade, police said.
On Tuesday, the robber flipped through the money the teller had given him, then told her it was not enough, Detective Wood wrote in the charging documents. The teller then collected more money from another teller's drawer. The man fled with $4,848.
During the robbery, another teller recognized the man as someone she had seen when she worked at another branch.
Mr. Schein is charged with three counts of robbery with a dangerous and deadly weapon, and one count of robbery.
"If a weapon is implied, then we will charge with the deadly weapon charge," said Sgt. Stephen Doarnberger, who added that police believe the robber never had a live hand grenade.
If convicted on all charges, Mr. Schein, who was released on $20,000 bail, could be sentenced to 70 years in prison.
He owned the National Wholesale Jewelry Co. Inc., located in the 1400 block of Reisterstown Road, but sold the business a few years ago.