Suspect in 'routine' robbery is arrested in police stakeout

March 16, 1995|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,Sun Staff Writer

The hooded robber walked into the Royal Farm Store at 3 a.m. and told the clerk: "You know the routine. We've done it before."

Vernon Brooks did know the routine. He had been held up five times before. And he suspects by the same bandit.

But No. 6 was unlucky for the suspect on Tuesday. This time, Baltimore County police had staked out the convenience store in the 4000 block of Wilkens Ave. After a struggle, a chase and car crash, they captured a Catonsville man and charged him with the string of holdups.

Douglas M. Uhl, 26, was denied bail yesterday by a Towson District Court commissioner.

Acting on a tip from Baltimore robbery detectives, county police waited for a man, who was believed to be driving a stolen blue Mazda RX-7. The same person was suspected of holding up the store five times since Feb. 3.

Watching from a marked patrol car across the street, Officer Charles A. Massey saw the Mazda drive past the store twice and pull into an alley behind the building. Police said the driver pulled the hood of his jacket over his head and went inside.

He announced the holdup to Mr. Brooks, 19, of Essex.

Officer Massey and the store's guard approached the man and struggled with him as several other police cars arrived. Although he was sprayed with pepper Mace, police said, he slipped away and fled in the Mazda, nearly running over Cpl. Scott Huff, who dived onto the hood of his cruiser to avoid being struck.

After a short chase, police said, they arrested the suspect at Benzinger Road and Arion Park in Baltimore when his car struck a police cruiser that was blocking the road and smashed into two parked cars. No weapon was displayed or recovered in the incident, police said.

Mr. Uhl was charged with seven counts of armed robbery -- one for each store robbery and one for robbing a customer who was present during one of the holdups.

Police said a robber displayed a butcher knife in a Feb. 3 robbery and a handgun on Feb. 22 and March 12. On Feb. 28 and March 8, the robber told the clerk he had a weapon but never showed it.

Police said other charges are pending.

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