Man sentenced for role in local store robberies
A Lothian man was given a suspended five-year sentence for his role in a handful of convenience store robberies that occurred between Oct. 23 and 29 in Calvert and Prince George’s counties.
Elmer Moreland III, 56, was indicted on various theft and robbery charges, along with an access after statute charge, which he pled guilty to in June, according to court records. His co-defendants, Robert Walter Smith, 49, of Prince Frederick and John Rubin Smith IV, 30, of Lothian, were also indicted for their involvement in the robberies.
Units from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Dash-In convenience store in Owings on Oct. 23 for a check welfare report after a masked man entered the business, according to previous reports. Upon their arrival, an employee of the store told authorities the masked man fled the store after a failed attempt to open the cash register.
During the initial investigation, authorities were informed about a suspect from a 7-Eleven robbery earlier that day in Prince George’s County who matched the description of the man from the DashIn robbery, the reports state. After observing the surveillance tapes, authorities confirmed the same vehicle was used in both robberies.
Troopers from the Maryland State Police Prince Frederick barrack and deputies from the sheriff’s office responded to the Dunkirk 7-Eleven for the report of an armed robbery Oct. 27, previous reports state. The suspect made off with $300 and 20 packs of cigarettes. The same type of black and white skull Halloween mask that was worn in the first two robberies was used once again.
On Oct. 29, authorities were alerted to an aborted robbery attempt at the same Prince George’s 7-Eleven that was robbed six days earlier, according to the documents. Surveillance footage revealed the suspect noticed a second employee in the store and left immediately. Later that day, authorities located the vehicle used in the robberies and conducted a traffic stop. The driver, identified as Moreland, was taken into custody and interviewed by a Maryland State Police trooper. In the interview, Moreland admitted driving to the Dunkirk 7-Eleven on Oct. 27, but said his nephew, John Smith, went inside wearing the mask and robbed the store. He said John Smith had been robbing businesses “all over the place.” While the trooper interviewed Moreland, authorities located and detained John Smith.
Search warrants were subsequently applied for and granted for the two men’s properties, which are located on the same street, court documents state. During the execution of the search warrants, several items of clothing used during the robberies in Calvert and Prince George’s counties were found. Specifically, three Holcomb Pave and Build shirts were found in a storage shed that matched the lettering of the shirt from the convenience stores’ surveillance tapes.
Authorities contacted the owner of the company who informed them that he had recently fired Robert Smith. After obtaining photographs of Robert Smith, authorities confirmed he matched the description of the suspect for the Dash-In and 7-Eleven robberies that occurred Oct. 23, the reports state.
At the Aug. 22 sentencing, Circuit Judge Mark Chandlee dealt Moreland a suspended, five-year sentence with five years of supervised probation. The probation will include wrap-around services, requiring Moreland participate in programs provided by the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) and the Southern Maryland Community Network. The probation will be transferred to Anne Arundel County, where Moreland resides.
“As conditions of your probation, do all the services they set you up for: DORS [and] Southern Maryland [Community] Network. Follow any and all recommendations that they make and take your medication as prescribed,” Chandlee told Moreland after giving the sentence. “You do that, you’re going to stay out of jail. You don’t do this, then I’m going to send you to jail and I don’t want to do that.”
Last month, Chandlee sentenced Robert Smith to the maximum of 18 months for the theft case with credit for 251 days served in pretrial custody. He was given 18 months concurrent to the theft case for his probation violation concerning the drug possession. Chandlee also dealt an eight-and-a-half-year consecutive sentence for the second violation of probation. The sentence of active time totaled 10 years.
John Smith was sentenced to 15 years at the Department of Corrections with all but seven years suspended after entering a guilty plea to robbery in June. He, too, is on five years of supervised probation following his release from prison.