Armed men hijack, rob armored truck One guard is hurt as second is forced to drive at gunpoint

March 21, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Two armed men hijacked an armored truck from a McDonald's parking lot in Waverly yesterday morning, tied up one of the guards and escaped with several bags of money and the guards' guns, city police said.

The gunmen forced one of the guards to drive the Dunbar Armored Inc. truck several blocks before the suspects jumped out and sped off in a getaway car driven by a woman, police said.

Police were looking yesterday for a dark blue early 1990s model Honda, possibly an Accord. A detailed description of the suspects was not available.

"This appears to be a well-orchestrated execution of a crime," said Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a city police spokesman. "The two guards were abducted."

Baltimore robbery detectives and FBI agents interviewed the guards yesterday. Lisa Jones, 26, suffered a head injury in a scuffle. A witness said the other guard, 34-year-old Thomas Charles, sat in the driver's seat with his head down and hands clutching the steering wheel when the ordeal was over, and both guards were distraught.

"She was crying and he was shaken up," said Antoine Dorsey, 22, who works at an auto parts store on East 30th Street, where the guards sought help.

Police were awaiting an audit to determine how much money was stolen. Some bags were missing, but others had been left in the truck, said Lt. Larry Leeson, head of the Baltimore Police Department's robbery unit.

Yesterday's holdup was the fourth armored truck robbery involving Dunbar in the Baltimore area this year, and by far the most violent. No such robberies were reported in 1996.

A Dunbar guard was robbed of cafeteria receipts outside two Baltimore schools in January and last month. On Feb. 24, a gunman robbed an armed courier who worked for Dunbar Armored of a 9mm semiautomatic handgun at Security Square Mall in Woodlawn.

Leeson said the school robberies probably were committed by the same man -- a suspect who is in jail on unrelated charges. But he said detectives are investigating whether any links exist between the holdup last month in Woodlawn and yesterday's in Waverly.

Michael D. Gambrill, the former chief of the Baltimore County Police Department and now the national security director for Dunbar Armored, based in Dundalk, said the number of robberies had declined in recent years.

"But the violence has increased," said Gambrill, who was at the scene of yesterday's holdup. "There's always a risk. That's why we use armored cars."

Yesterday's robbery occurred about 9 a.m. shortly after the guards parked in the McDonald's lot at 29th Street and Greenmount Ave. to drop off money at the fast-food restaurant.

Police said the robbers -- with what looked like 9mm handguns -- forced Jones into the truck and tied her up with a plastic cord, similar to "flex" cuffs used by police.

With Jones forced to lie in the back of the truck, the gunmen ordered Charles to drive about six blocks to Fillmore Street, about five blocks south of Memorial Stadium, police said. The gunmen took the guards' weapons, a .38-caliber and a 9 mm handgun.

On Fillmore Street, Weinhold said, the gunmen grabbed bags of money and jumped from the truck into a waiting car, Weinhold said. Charles then drove three blocks to East 30th and Independence streets and pulled into a driveway of B&L Auto Paint Supplies.

Dorsey, who was outside on a cigarette break, said Jones -- her hands bound behind her back -- got out of the truck, told him they had been robbed and asked if he would call the police.

Jones suffered a blow to the back of her head and was treated at Union Memorial Hospital.

Pub Date: 3/21/97

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