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Hampstead man, who police say searched Google for tips before robbing Eldersburg 7-Eleven, is convicted

More than three years later, the Hampstead man who police say googled, “What is the best way to rob a store,” before holding up an Eldersburg 7-Eleven convenience store has been convicted, the Carroll County’s State’s Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Joshua Matthew Johnson, 30, of the 1100 block of Caton Drive was found guilty Wednesday of robbery, theft from $100 to under $1,500 and second-degree assault charges, according to a news release from the State’s Attorney’s Office. He is currently awaiting sentencing, and is facing a maximum of 15 years in prison, according to the release.

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On Oct. 17, 2017, at about 9:30 p.m., Johnson entered the 7-Eleven at 2033 Liberty Road in Eldersburg and demanded money from the cashier, prosecutors say. The cashier allegedly told police that Johnson had been wearing a bandanna over his face, and when she told him he couldn’t wear the covering in the store, the man told her he had a gun and was not afraid to use it.

The cashier allegedly said she then gave him the money, which totaled about $250, and Johnson ran from the store. At the time, he was wearing a heavy jacket, a sweatshirt and a beanie, according to police, but officers later found the jacket in a Dumpster across the street from the store, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

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According to the release, a K-9 police unit tracked the suspect’s scent back to Johnson’s address, which was within walking distance from the 7-Eleven.

However, according to police, when Johnson was interviewed the following year, he said he did not have any information about the robbery, nor did he know anybody who did. A subpoena of data related to the suspect’s email a few months later revealed his Google search history, which included a search about how to rob a convenience store and a website that claimed to offer answers on how to do so, according to charging documents.

In the release, State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo thanked detectives from the Maryland State Police and law enforcement involved in the case’s investigation, as well as Jennifer Brady, senior assistant state’s attorney, for prosecuting the case and “bringing Joshua Johnson to justice for his actions.”

Johnson was represented by the Carroll County Public Defender’s Office, which did not respond to a request for comment. A sentencing hearing for Johnson is scheduled for Jan. 6, court records show.

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