Columbia man gets 10 years in robbery try

He was caught in sting targeting Oakland Mills thefts from Hispanics

April 08, 2005|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

A Columbia man who was arrested during a police undercover operation last summer that targeted street robbers of Hispanic victims in Oakland Mills was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison by Howard County Circuit Judge Lenore R. Gelfman.

David Lee Williams, 19, of the 9600 block of Basket Ring Road, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery Jan. 24.

Police began the undercover operation after several Hispanic victims were robbed while walking in the Columbia village, according to Assistant State's Attorney Lynn Marshall's memorandum in aid of sentencing. Hispanics in the area are particularly vulnerable because they frequently convert their paychecks to cash because -- depending on their immigration status -- many cannot open a bank account, Marshall wrote.

On Aug. 6, 2004, Officer Manuel Rodriguez posed as a kitchen worker who had gotten off work and was hanging out on a parking lot in Oakland Mills Village Center, in the 5800 block of Stevens Forest Road. Rodriguez was approached by two men offering to sell him cocaine, and the officer made the purchase and displayed a large amount of cash, according to Marshall's memo.

The men then joined a group of people, and Rodriguez sat in a police surveillance van. A female from the group lured Rodriguez from the van, and he was struck by Williams and suffered a fractured eye socket, according to Marshall's memo.

Williams told police he didn't know Rodriguez was a police officer, the memo states.

Police arrested two other adults and two juveniles after the attack. Brian Nork, 24, of the 9600 block of White Acre Road, pleaded guilty March 23 to attempted robbery and was sentenced to less than a year in the Howard County Detention Center. Brandon Stanton, 20, of the 12100 block of Little Patuxent Parkway is scheduled for trial on May 10.

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