Man guilty in gun theft from police warehouse

February 24, 2010|By Don Markus | don.markus@baltsun.com

A Howard County Circuit Court jury found a 40-year-old Baltimore man guilty Tuesday of stealing two handguns from a state police warehouse while he served as a prison trusty in a pre-release program.

The jury took less than two hours before returning the verdict against Roderick L. Hayes, who was found guilty on all six counts, including theft, possession of a handgun and violating probation terms.

Hayes, of the 1300 block of Walters Ave., was finishing a 17-year sentence for kidnapping, robbery and assault when he stole a pair of Beretta handguns from the Quartermasters Warehouse adjacent to the Waterloo barracks and hid them nearby.

According to police, Hayes climbed through a 2-foot opening between a gated area where the weapons were stored and the ceiling, then put the guns about 100 yards from the warehouse near U.S. 1. He later called associates to retrieve the weapons, police said.

After Hayes was released from prison, a routine inspection of the warehouse discovered two handguns missing. Suspecting that Hayes might have been involved, police listened to more than 300 audiotapes from prison, including seven involving Hayes.

A couple of the tapes included conversations between Hayes and associates negotiating a price for the guns. On a subsequent tape, Hayes is heard saying, "I'm not going to use that word [gun] no more."

One of the missing guns turned up after being used in a crime committed in Baltimore; the other weapon has not been recovered, police said.

Hayes could be sentenced to 35 to 40 years in prison.

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