Baltimore County police have arrested a man they believe responsible for some of the armed robberies that have plagued county convenience stores since April.
A second suspect remains at large after he bailed out of a getaway car and outran a pursuing officer, following two robberies early yesterday. Police recovered a handgun and cash believed taken in the two robberies.
Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a police spokesman, said the suspects, their car and methods are similar to descriptions provided after as many as 25 armed robberies of convenience stores in the county since mid-April.
Ervin Lee Robinson, 38, of the 3600 block of Beehler Ave. in Baltimore, was charged with armed robbery and a handgun violation in the holdup of a Royal Farm store in the 2400 block of E. Joppa Road about 1 a.m. yesterday, and in the armed robbery of the Crown gasoline station at Loch Raven Boulevard and Joppa Road about 10 minutes later.
Police believe he was the driver in yesterday's robberies.
Mr. Robinson also was charged with armed robbery and a handgun violation in connection with the June 28 robbery of a Royal Farm store at West Joppa and Thornton roads in Riderwood.
Investigators were reviewing other cases to determine whether to file additional charges against Mr. Robinson. "We anticipate more [charges]," said Sergeant Doarnberger. "Also, Baltimore City is interested in him for several robberies down there."
Mr. Robinson was ordered held yesterday at the county Detention Center on $100,000 bail. A bail review was scheduled for today.
In the first of yesterday's robberies, an armed robber entered the Royal Farm store on East Joppa Road, pointed a handgun at the clerk and demanded money, Sergeant Doarnberger said. The robber was given $25 from the cash register, then told the clerk to open a second register, but it was locked.
"[He] jumped the counter, took the register and shook it. Then he put it back down, looked behind the counter, couldn't find what he was looking for and took off," Sergeant Doarnberger said.
The man was described as a black male in his mid-20s, about 6 feet tall, 160 pounds, and with a shaved head. He was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt and shorts.
About 10 minutes later, police said, a man matching the same description pointed a gun at the attendant at the Crown station at Joppa Road and Loch Raven Boulevard.
"The attendant . . . started to reach for the alarm, but the robber said, 'Don't!' so he stopped," Sergeant Doarnberger said. The robber got $187 in cash but, as he fled, the attendant noted the tag number on the getaway car and called police.
Police then broadcast the information and two plainclothes members of the Towson Precinct's selective enforcement unit drove to Loch Raven Boulevard at the city line to watch for the car.
When a car matching the description appeared, they followed it to the 5400 block of Loch Raven Blvd., near Good Samaritan Hospital, where the car stopped, and the man in the passenger seat ran off, police said.
The car's driver and registered owner remained in the car and was arrested by Officer Peter J. Grippi. He was identified by police as Mr. Robinson.
Officer Peter Hanlon pursued the fleeing passenger on foot, but the man ran into nearby woods and escaped.
Officer Hanlon recovered cash and a nickel-plated .38-caliber handgun the suspect had dropped. The gun matched the description of the weapon used in the robberies, police said.
Officer Hanlon narrowly escaped death last September when he was shot in an unprovoked attack in a Hillendale apartment complex. He was saved by his bulletproof vest. His assailant was sentenced in March to life plus 20 years for the shooting.