Arrests may be big break in series of late-night robberies
4 men charged after holdup at Wheaton CVS; 7 agencies investigating
For weeks, police in the Washington area suspected that a team of armed robbers was hitting 24-hour drugstores and gas stations. Only one would go in to the store — dressed in a ski mask and dark clothing. He would point a revolver, get cash and run to a waiting car.
It’s not clear how many stores have been hit, but detectives from seven police agencies and the FBI have worked the cases together. On Friday evening, po- lice officials said they may have caught a big break.
Police in Montgomery County arrested four men — ages 19 to 23 — and charged them in connection with an attempted robbery at a CVS Pharmacy at 4:15 a.m. Thursday in Wheaton. One of the four, according to court files, admitted to police that he hit a store employee in the head with a handgun — apparently to get him to move faster toward a cash register.
In Montgomery alone, police said, the four “may be involved” in eight robberies from Jan. 20 to Jan. 31 at three CVS sites, two Rite Aid locations, two 7-Elevens and a Sunoco station.
Detectives also are investigating whether the four Montgomery suspects are connected to similar robberies in Alexandria, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties and other jurisdictions, said Officer Rick Goodale, a Montgomery County police spokesman.
Court records filed in Montgomery last week describe the extent of police cooperation.
“Since January, 2017, the Montgomery County Police Department became part of a joint investigation being conducted for a series of commercial armed robberies that appear to be related,” detectives wrote in an affidavit.
“The investigation included the Prince George’s County Police Department, Howard County Police Department, Anne Arundel Police Department, Greenbelt City Police Department, Annapolis City Police Department, Alexandria Police Department the Federal Bureau of Investigation Cross Border Task Force.”
It is not clear whether detectives suspect the four men arrested by Montgomery County of taking part in the robberies across the region, or if there are other suspects being sought.
Officials on Friday identified the suspects arrested in connection with the Wheaton CVS case as Ian Marquis Anderson, 19, of Temple Hills; Tyrek Montez Arrington, 19, of Clinton; Elhadj Malick Diallo, 22, of Rockville; and Dillon Rashad Lewis, 23, of Upper Marlboro.
Police say that Anderson entered the CVS, pointed a gun and hit the employee with the weapon. Another clerk furtively called 911 and then hung up the phone, according to court records. When a police dispatcher called back, police allege Anderson heard a phone ring, panicked and fled.
Patrol officers converged on the area, and one saw a dark Nissan Altima occupied by four people with the two rear-seat passengers attempting to crouch beneath the window level.
The officer pulled the car over, according to court records, and as he approached the car, he smelled marijuana. More officers arrived and searched the car.
Police said Friday they found a loaded revolver under the front passenger seat.
The four suspects were charged in the Wheaton case only, on robbery and gun-related charges. The four men are expected to have a court appearand ance Monday.
Montgomery police said in a statement that the four may be involved in the following robberies in the county:
Jan. 20 at 4:40 a.m., CVS Pharmacy, 2271 Bel Pre Rd.
Jan. 26 at 2:45 a.m., CVS Pharmacy, 6917 Arlington Rd.
Jan. 26 at 5 a.m., Rite Aid, 1411 East-West Hwy.
Jan. 26 at 5:20 a.m., CVS Pharmacy, 7809 Wisconsin Ave.
Jan. 27 at 4:40 a.m., 7-Eleven, 8946 N. Westland Dr.
Jan. 30 at 12:05 a.m., 7-Eleven, 10594 Metropolitan Ave.
Jan. 30 at 12:30 a.m., Rite Aid, 1411 East-West Hwy.
Jan. 31 at 6:05 a.m., Sunoco gas station, 11355 Seven Locks Rd.