Arrest made in store holdups, but Royal Farm hit yet again 'I thought we were going to see the last of it'

February 28, 1997|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,SUN STAFF

It looked as if a one-man crime wave was about the end early Wednesday, as Baltimore County police prepared to arrest the man they suspected of robbing the Royal Farm Store on Falls Road near Lake Avenue five times between Jan. 14 and Feb. 20.

But as detectives obtained a warrant for Reginald Eugene Cooper, 28, of the 4600 block of Reisterstown Road, another man -- with what he said was a Molotov cocktail -- robbed the store of $50 about 5 a.m.

"I thought we were going to see the last of it," employee Joanne Harper said of the early morning robberies. "I've never been robbed, but I wouldn't work that shift."

The store is in a small strip shopping center and is busy during the day, but does scant business overnight, clerks said.

Cooper was arrested Wednesday after a surveillance tape of the serial robber was broadcast on television. He was being held at the county Detention Center yesterday in lieu of $250,000 bail on five charges of armed robbery and a handgun violation.

In Wednesday's Molotov cocktail incident, police said the robber bought a few small items, then demanded money from midnight-shift clerk Daniel Bennett, 20. When the clerk hesitated, the man lighted the device and threatened to throw it him, police said.

The man ran from the store with the device and drove east on Lake Avenue in a black car, police said. Police did not know what became of the device, although no damage was reported.

According to a description and a surveillance tape, the thief is a white man in his 20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, slim, about 140 pounds with long black hair in a ponytail.

Bennett, who had been the victim in most of the recent robberies at the store, could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Nassar Ghobadir, who took over as manager of the store Wednesday afternoon, said it is his fifth tour as manager of that branch. He said the others were in the late 1970s, "and I've never been robbed."

Pub Date: 2/28/97

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