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News Maryland Harford County Forest Hill

Cecil man arrested, charged in connection with two Harford bank robberies

A Cecil County man has been arrested in connection with two bank robberies in Harford County last week, Maryland State Police said Wednesday.

As a result of the bank robberies investigation, two other people from Cecil County have been charged with crimes unrelated to the robberies, State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said.

Arrested and charged in the bank robberies is Joseph S. Tiller, 35, of the 100 block of Slicers Mill Road in Rising Sun. Tiller is charged with two counts each of armed robbery, robbery, theft between $1,000 and $10,000 and second-degree assault.

Tiller was turned over to the Harford County central booking center in Bel Air early Wednesday morning and was initially held at the Harford County Detention Center on $100,000 bail pending a bail review hearing in Harford County District Court.

On Wednesday afternoon, Harford District Court Judge Dave Carey ordered him held without bail, calling the charges "very serious" although "somewhat out of character."

Public defender Marcus Jenkins said Tiller's "criminal record is not pristine but all the offenses are misdemeanors," except for a charge of possessing a drug other than marijuana.

Tiller also has several pending charges, none of which are felonies. An assistant state's attorney noted he is also suspected of two robberies in Pennsylvania, but Carey said he would not consider those in setting bail.

Tiller is divorced, has no children and received a GED, Jenkins said. He has one charge of failing to appear in court from 2001.

Also arrested as a result of the investigation, but not charged with crimes connected to the bank robberies, were Phillip Lockett, 39, and Malissa N. Miller, 28, both of the 800 block of Rising Sun Road in Rising Sun.

Lockett and Miller are both charged with possession of counterfeit currency, convicted felon in possession of a regulated firearm, convicted felon involving a crime of violence in possession of a regulated firearm and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person. Both were taken to a court commissioner in Cecil County for an initial appearance, State Police said.

State Police investigators say a man, who was later identified as Tiller, entered the PNC Bank in the 2400 block of Whiteford Road in Whiteford on the afternoon of June 10 and handed a bank employee a note allegedly demanding money. He did not display or imply he had a weapon. Tiller left with an undetermined amount of money.

Just after 2:30 p.m. on June 12, a man with the same description entered the NBRS Bank in the 3500 block of Conowingo Road in Street and handed a bank employee the same or a very similar note allegedly demanding money. Again, Tiller did not display or imply he had a weapon and left the bank with an undetermined amount of money. No one was injured in either of the robberies.

On Friday, State Police investigators from the Criminal Enforcement Division issued bank surveillance photos of the suspect and developed information about a Toyota van possibly used by the suspect when he committed the robberies.

Tips from citizens assisted troopers with their investigation, which led them to develop Tiller as a suspect, State Police said in a news release. Their investigation also developed information that Tiller frequented the home of Lockett and Miller, who owned a van similar to the one believed to be used by the robbery suspect.

State Police investigators obtained search warrants for both homes and an arrest warrant for Tiller. The warrants were served by State Police late Tuesday afternoon. Tiller was arrested at his home without incident. Troopers found a loaded handgun and drug paraphernalia in Tiller's residence, according to the news release.

At the home of Lockett and Miller, troopers found a Toyota van believed to be the one used by Tiller when he allegedly committed the bank robberies. Other items recovered included a counterfeit $20 bill, a handgun and a box of handgun ammunition. Lockett and Miller were arrested without incident.

"The investigators believe the Toyota was used in both robberies and that led them to Lockett and Miller," Shipley explained. "The obtained a warrant and searched their home, where they found a handgun and the counterfeit bill. Both are convicted felons and can't legally possess a handgun."

Shipley said the investigation is continuing and that additional charges are possible against all three suspects. He said the investigation of Tiller could extend out of state.

Aegis staff member Bryna Zumer contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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