Man given 15-year sentence for robbery of armored truck

2 armed thieves used stolen pickup to steal $368,000 from Brink's

March 19, 2003|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A 25-year-old Elkridge man who robbed a Brink's armored car at gunpoint two years ago, stealing $368,000 in cash, was sentenced yesterday to 15 years in prison.

Eric Allen Miller may not have hurt anyone during the holdup, but the crime, which was carried out during daylight hours on a public street, posed a "significant" threat to public safety, Howard Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. said before imposing sentence.

"Potentially, so many people were in jeopardy -- not only the guards from the truck, but innocent passers-by," Kane said.

Miller, of the 5900 block of Setter Drive, pleaded guilty to armed robbery in October.

He was one of two men -- one with a silver-colored handgun, the other with Mace -- who backed up a stolen pickup to an armored truck in front of Frederick County National Bank in the 7200 block of Montgomery Road on Jan. 31, 2001, and confronted two guards, prosecutors said.

The men took three bags of cash from the armored truck and drove off after spraying one guard with the Mace, prosecutor Jim Dietrich said.

Investigators later found the stolen 1987 Chevrolet pickup at Lawyers Hill Road and Summer Home Terrace and two knit caps nearby.

Miller's DNA was found on one of the caps, according to court papers.

He was charged, but prosecutors dropped the case later for lack of evidence. He was recharged last summer after he admitted his role to an informant, prosecutors said.

The informant approached Miller pretending to want to commit a similar crime, and Miller "pretty much laid out how this armored car robbery occurred," said Dietrich, who asked Kane to impose the 20-year maximum penalty for armed robbery.

Miller used the money to buy drugs and take trips to Las Vegas and Florida, the prosecutor said.

Miller's partner in the robbery has not been identified.

Yesterday, Miller's lawyer, Joseph Fleischmann II, noted that no one was hurt and that his client admitted his guilt.

"I ask the court to seriously consider an opportunity for him to move toward a better road," he said.

Miller told authorities in an unrelated burglary case that he was on a "cocaine binge" at the time of the armored car robbery, according to court papers.

According to the evaluation, Miller suffers from bipolar disorder and told evaluators that he was drinking alcohol every day by the time he turned 14, later experimenting with drugs, according to court papers.

He was in drug treatment at the time of his arrest last summer, according to the evaluation.

Miller, who is serving a three-year prison term for the burglary, apologized yesterday for his role in the armored-car robbery.

His 15-year sentence will be served after the three-year term.

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