Police in 6 counties investigate rash of grocery store robberies

January 07, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

State and local police in Carroll, Harford, Frederick, Baltimore, Howard and Prince George's counties are investigating armed robberies at more than two dozen grocery stores.

Most of the holdups, including at least nine at area Super Fresh stores and three at Weis stores in Carroll County, have occurred since September, police said. The most recent one was Jan. 1 at Martin's Food Store in the 6300 block of Georgetown Blvd. in Eldersburg.

Many of the crimes are similar, but they are probably the work of more than one robber or pair of robbers, said Cpl. Andrew Winner of the Westminster state police barracks.

In some instances, two men wearing ski masks and carrying pistols entered a store and forced employees to the rear of the store, where they were handcuffed or placed in a refrigerated room.

On other occasions, a man wearing a mask and carrying a semiautomatic pistol in his belt handed a note demanding money to an employee in the store manager's office.

Detective Mike Saylor of the Harford County sheriff's office said last month that a cream-colored Chevrolet Blazer with wood-grain sides was seen parked near a Brunswick Super Fresh in Frederick County Nov. 22.

The driver, described as 30 to 35 years old with short brown hair and wearing a brown suede jacket, is being sought as a possible witness, Sgt. Edward Hopkins, a Harford sheriff's spokesman, said yesterday.

The Blazer had a vanity plate attached to the front Maryland license plate -- two white hearts on a blue background with names airbrushed within the hearts -- and a child seat inside, Hopkins said.

Saylor said he believes a Nov. 21 robbery of a Super Fresh near Bel Air is linked to at least seven others because the two robbers there forced employees to the rear of the store.

Lt. Dean Brewer, spokesman for the Westminster police, said he thinks the same pair robbed the Weis store in the 600 block of Baltimore Blvd. Jan. 11 and barricaded workers in a bathroom.

Winner said the Eldersburg robbery on New Year's Day -- one in which a note was used -- might be connected to seven robberies in Baltimore County and seven in Howard County since Oct. 29.

The suspect was described as 28 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a large nose.

A Super Fresh in Arbutus was robbed Oct. 29, Nov. 23 and Nov. 27, Winner said.

Anyone with information about these incidents may call Saylor at 410-836-5432 or state police in Westminster at 410-848-3111. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may also call the Harford County Crime Solvers at 410-877-7867. If information leads to an arrest, callers could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Pub Date: 1/07/98

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