Suspect in 27 robberies, including Balto. County, is captured in W.Va. Woman called police after segment on 'America's Most Wanted'

September 14, 1998|By Nancy A. Youssef | Nancy A. Youssef,SUN STAFF

A man suspected in 27 bank robberies, including three in Baltimore County, was captured in West Virginia on Saturday, about an hour after he was featured on the television program "America's Most Wanted."

Agents from FBI offices in Baltimore and Pittsburgh and West Virginia state police in Martinsburg teamed to capture John Dennis Grubb, 53, at his Jerrardstown trailer about 10 p.m. Saturday.

A woman called "America's Most Wanted" hot line minutes after the show aired, saying she recognized Grubb, said Howard Hay, an associate producer for the show who accompanied authorities on the arrest.

"She had information that we did not put on the air," including the type of car Grubb drove, said Hay. "We knew we had something."

Said Peter Gulotta, a special agent for the FBI in Baltimore: "He was recognized. They knew exactly who he was."

Gulotta said Grubb is suspected of 27 bank robberies beginning in September 1996. Gulotta said the last one occurred about two weeks ago, although he had no other details.

Gulotta said Grubb is believedto have struck in Tennessee, Delaware, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Delaware and Maryland.

Grubb was also wanted in Ohio for violating parole after his 1994 release for bank robbery, Hay and Gulotta said.

Gulotta said Grubb is accused of robbing First Union Bank in the 1500 block of Reisterstown Road on Sept. 11, 1997; Provident Bank of Maryland in Lutherville on Oct. 17, 1997; and the NationsBank in Garrison on Jan. 16.

Grubb is accused of charges in the five states that had issued warrants for his arrest, including Maryland, Gulotta said.

Grubb was being held at a West Virginia jail and was scheduled for an appearance today in federal court, said Special Agent Ray West of the West Virginia state police.

During the robberies, the robber did not wear a mask but at times brandished a 9 mm handgun, Hay said. "He was a note passer," Hay added.

During the 2 1/2 -minute television segment, Grubb was described as standing out in a crowd because he was a "neat freak," who would walk along a bar and straighten the ashtrays.

The segment also displayed several photos of the robber taken during bank robberies.

Grubb's capture was the 521st in the show's 11-year history.

"This is indicative of what publicity will do," Gulotta said. "If we don't have pictures out there, we can't find them."

Pub Date: 9/14/98

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