One man might be responsible for at least seven armed robberies of North County convenience stores and restaurants in the past few weeks,police say.
Police are also investigating whether five armed robberies in early February and early March are connected to the so-called "shotgun bandits" terrorizing Baltimore-area businesses in recent months.
Police spokesman V. Richard Molloy said Anne Arundel is not alonein the recent outbreak of holdups.
"It seems to be the in thing to do now," he said. "Our robbery squad guys are working real close with officers from other jurisdictions. Most of the time, holdups aren't segregated to one particular area."
Sgt. George Johnson, head ofthe robbery squad, said further information on the man they believe to be responsible for the North County holdups could be released today.
Since Feb. 23, four convenience stores, two banks, two restaurants, one drug store and one gas station have been robbed.
These holdups include one at a 7-Eleven in Ferndale last Tuesday, when a manwalked into the convenience store at 4:30 a.m. and put a weapon to the clerk's back. Also last Tuesday, a man robbed a Glen Burnie 7-Eleven after he jumped behind the counter. He did not show a weapon.
On Feb. 28, the Vermont Federal Savings and Loan bank in Brooklyn Parkwas robbed by a man who did not show a weapon. Police say the man handed a teller a note demanding $20, $50 and $100 bills. He left the bank after warning employees not to sound alarms.
Also last Tuesday, a gunman wearing a hard hat and work clothes and carrying a fake grenade robbed a Crofton bank, getting away with an undisclosed amount of money from a brinks shipment. Police say the man asked tellers if the bank had an electrical problem.
When they said they didn't, the man said, "Well, then this is a stick-up." After getting the money,the man forced the workers into a back room and told them to wait there for five minutes. He then put the fake grenade on the floor and walked out of the bank.
Molloy said these recent holdups are not related to five that occurred earlier in the year, which may be linked to the incidents in Baltimore.
City-area businesses have been plagued in recent months by gangs of bandits with sawed-off shotguns who have robbed -- sometimes violently -- dozens of fast-food restaurants, banks and convenience stores.
On Thursday, a group of bandits held up a Towson credit union in Baltimore County, taking 13 employees hostage and getting away with $36,700.
On Saturday, a suspect in eight of the holdups in Baltimore and Baltimore County was arrested inNewport News, VA.
Sadiyq Abdullah Muhammmed, also known as Tony Bedford, has been charged in arrest warrants with eight counts of armed robbery, including the Feb. 28 holdup at the Pikesville Holiday Innin which an assistant manager was shot and seriously wounded.
The19-year-old man has not been charged in connection with any holdup in Anne Arundel, but police say several holdups in the county are related to the gang of bandits working in Baltimore.
The possible AnneArundel connection includes a holdup of a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Glen Burnie on March 2. Four men, two armed with shotguns and one with a pistol, walked into the restaurant about 8:30 p.m. and ordered the manager to open the safe.
The manager couldn't open it, so the men took money from the cash register, ordered the employees into a freezer and escaped.
Also possibly linked to the "shotgun bandits" is a holdup of a Subway Sandwich shop in Glen Burnie Feb. 9. Two men, one armed with a sawed-off shotgun, entered the store -- and one jumped over the counter to take money from a cash register.
Other holdups possibly connected to Baltimore include those at three restaurants in Brooklyn Park on Feb. 1, 2 and 5, Molloy said.
Molloy said no special task force has been established to deal with the rash of robberies, but he said police in several area counties are working together. He cited the recent arrest of a man police say is responsible for robbing five Pizza Huts in three counties since 1989.
The man was arrested last week after police from Prince George's, Howard and Anne Arundel counties staked out a Pizza Hut on Route 1 in Howard County and watched as he tried to hold up the restaurant.
Robert William Mayfield, 21, of the 200 block Woodhill Drive, was charged with two counts of armed robbery in Anne Arundel and one count of attempted armed robbery in Howard. He has additional armed robbery charges pending in both Howard and Prince George's counties.