Ar­rests may be big break in se­ries of late-night rob­beries

4 men charged af­ter holdup at Wheaton CVS; 7 agen­cies in­ves­ti­gat­ing

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - MARY­LAND BY DAN MORSE dan.morse@wash­post.com

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.

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