Man sen­tenced for role in lo­cal store rob­beries

The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page - By AN­DREW CEPHAS acephas@somd­ Twit­ter: @CalRecANDREW

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.

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