Four Harford convenience stores robbed five times in past week

July 16, 2014|BY ERIKA BUTLER and ALLAN VOUGHT

Police are trying to determine if the same person robbed three Harford 7-Eleven stores, one of them twice, and a Havre de Grace convenience store within the past week.

An arrest has been made in the most recent robbery, of the EZ Quick convenience store in the 800 bock of Revolution Street in Havre de Grace, which happened around 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Police are looking to see if the suspect is linked to four other robberies in the last week. The 7-Eleven in the 1300 block of James Way in Belcamp was robbed on July 9 and again Tuesday; the 7-Eleven in the 600 block of South Philadelphia Boulevard was robbed on July 13 and the 7-Eleven in the 700 block of West Bel Air Avenue was robbed on July 10.

"We are looking into any connections among the five," Cristie Kahler, spokesperson for the Harford County Sheriff's Office, said Tuesday.

"Whenever you have a number of incidents with a common thread in a short period of time in a small area or radius, you go back and see if there any connecting threads," Kahler said.

Aberdeen Police Department Lt. Fred Budnick also said his officers are investigating the other cases outside their jurisdiction.

"We're haven't confirmed anything yet, but obviously we're working with Havre de Grace and county investigators to see if they are the same suspects by any chance," Budnick said Tuesday.

"Obviously they're in close proximity, for one thing, and they're armed robberies, so we'll look to see if the descriptions match," he said. "We'll look to see if we can connect them in any way."

Police in Havre de Grace received a call just after 6 a.m. Tuesday for a reported of an armed robbery at the EZ Quick store, according to a press release from Havre de Grace Police Department.

Officers were told the robber was a black man wearing a black ski mask who was still inside the business.

Officers arrived at the store in less than two minutes and saw a black man walking quickly away from the store and with the witness still on the phone with dispatchers, officers identified him as the suspect.

Officers arrested the man, identified as Willie Lee Ganey, 37, of the 3000 block of Arunah Avenue in Baltimore, and took him into custody without further incident, according to the release.

When searching Ganey, officers found a black semi-automatic handgun, a black ski mask and items taken from the business. Upon further investigation of the handgun, it was discovered that the weapon was an Airsoft style gun that was painted and altered to appear as a real handgun.

The victims told police Ganey entered the store and allegedly hit one employee multiple times in the head with the gun and demanded money from the register, along with personal items from the employees.

Ganey allegedly dragged one of the employees toward the register where the other employee was standing and took an undisclosed amount of money. He allegedly ordered the two employees into a back room and shut the door behind him, then left the store.

The robber then dragged the employee toward the cash register where another employee was standing. The suspect took an undisclosed amount of currency from the register along with other items from behind the counter, police said. At that time, the two employees were ordered into a back room by the robber who shut the door behind him.

Moments later, the robber exited the store where he was met by officers.

Ganey has been charged with multiple counts of robbery, assault, weapon charges, theft more than $200, vandalism and false imprisonment, according to the release; other charges may be pending.

Hours apart

The Havre de Grace robbery occurred a few hours after the robbery of the 7-Eleven store in the 1300 block of James Way in Riverside around 2:40 a.m. Tuesday. The robber entered the business through the front door, displayed a handgun as he jumped over the counter, hit the store employee and demanded money, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

The robber made the clerk go into a back room until he left. After receiving an undisclosed amount of money, the robber fled toward the Extend Stay America Suites, the Sheriff's Office said. 

The robber was described as a black man, wearing a black leather jacket, blue jeans and a large red hat; he was covering a portion of his face. The victim was not injured.

The same 7-Eleven was robbed a week earlier, last Wednesday, at about 7:28 p.m. The robber entered the store, jumped over the counter, displayed a handgun and demanded money from the employees working at the register, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The robber hit one employee and forced them into a back room, while demanding money from the other employee. After taking an undisclosed amount of money, the robber jumped back over the counter and left, headed toward the 4400 block of Old Philadelphia Road.

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