Man, 35, charged in gas station robberies Police suspect him in 7 holdups in area

December 20, 1996|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

County police have arrested the man they believe is the "Clark Kent Bandit" responsible for seven gas station holdups over seven days this month, police said.

They took Jerry Allen Morsell Jr., 35, of no fixed address, into custody Wednesday on Ritchie Highway after cruisers and unmarked police cars surrounded the car he was riding in.

Morsell was being held in the county Detention Center on $500,000 bail yesterday.

Morsell was charged with two counts of armed robbery, and police said he confessed to those crimes and five other robberies, including one in Severna Park Tuesday in which the robber brandished a sawed-off shotgun.

Richard Keith Owens, 35, of the 200 block of Second Ave. in Glen Burnie, the driver of the car Morsell was in, was charged with possessing stolen license tags and being an accessory to robbery. Police said the tags on the car he was driving were stolen.

Bail information for Owens was not available.

Police said they found a silver-colored BB gun similar to one PTC used in four robberies and a handwritten note on Morsell that suggested he expected to die in a shootout, said Officer Vaughn Dykes, a police spokesman.

"There was a handwritten note, and it expressed forgiveness to the officer who would have killed him," Dykes said. "The suspect couldn't get the driver out of the vehicle fast enough so he could pull his BB gun. We believe he didn't want his friend to be hurt also."

Police dubbed the man responsible for gas station holdups the "Clark Kent Bandit" after he wore a suit and glasses during a robbery in Pasadena last week. In a picture taken by the station's surveillance camera, he resembles Christopher Reeve when he played the comic book superhero in movies.

Investigators said the suspect wore wigs and other disguises to confuse them.

Police arrested Morsell and Owens shortly after 6 p.m. on southbound Ritchie Highway near the Baltimore Beltway.

Detectives said they were following Owens because witnesses and informants had implicated him as the getaway driver in three of the robberies. They followed his Oldsmobile to South Hanover Street in Baltimore, where he picked up Morsell, and back into Anne Arundel County. To prevent a chase, police surrounded the car with unmarked police cars and cruisers, slowed down and forced the car to stop.

About a dozen officers with guns drawn surrounded the car to make the arrests.

Morsell was charged with robbing an Exxon station in the 6700 block of Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie about 3: 30 a.m. Dec. 10 and an Amoco station in the 8000 block of Ritchie Highway in Pasadena about 11 p.m. that night.

Police said he confessed to robbing a Shell station in the 100 block of Mountain Road in Pasadena Dec. 11; a Crown station in the 5700 block of Ritchie Highway in Brooklyn Park and an Amoco station in the 7400 block of Fort Smallwood Road in Pasadena Dec. 12; the Exxon station in the 6700 block of Ritchie Highway a second time Sunday; and a Shell station in the 500 block of Benfield Road in Severna Park Tuesday.

Police said victims in those robberies all described a man of approximately Morsell's height, weight and age who used similar weapons and methods.

Pub Date: 12/20/96

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