A band of holdup men robbed the Quality Inn in the 1700 block of Russell St. yesterday, and the same men are believed to have robbed nine other downtown Baltimore hotels since Nov. 19, police said.
The latest robbery occurred about 4 a.m. after three men entered the Quality Inn lobby and asked about room prices and the number of beds available. One of the men then pulled out a stainless-steel revolver, pointed it at the desk clerk and said, "Give me the money right now," police said.
"That is the usual method by which they've robbed the other hotels," Agent Doug Price, a police spokesman, said. "They will enter the lobby, approach the clerk on pretext of engaging a room for the evening, and then, when the timing is most propitious, they announce a robbery."
In each of the robberies, only one man has shown a weapon. Two other men stand as lookouts, police said. In some of the robberies, the holdup is announced in a note given to the clerk.
The robberies have occurred at night or early in the morning.
The other hotels that have been robbed are the Holiday Inn in the 300 block of W. Lombard St. on Nov. 24; the Ramada Inn in the first block of N. Howard St., also on Nov. 24; the Lord Baltimore Radisson at Baltimore and Hanover streets on Dec. 11; and the Omni Inner Harbor Hotel on Dec. 13.
The Tremont Plaza in the 200 block of St. Paul Place was robbed twice, on Nov. 25 and Dec. 3. The Days Inn in the 100 block of Hopkins Place was also robbed twice, on Nov. 19 and three days later.
Police said there have been no injuries or robberies of customers in the incidents. But police warned that business owners should be alert and call 911 if they see possible trouble.
"This is a pattern that develops in the holiday season. Hotel desk clerks, cab drivers and service station attendants should be especially circumspect of any suspicious persons," Agent Price said.
In the Quality Inn robbery, a surveillance camera videotaped the robbery, police said. From that videotape, police described one of the robbers as black, about 25 to 30 and 5-foot-8. He weighed between 170 and 190 pounds and wore a dark jacket and a hooded sweat shirt.
Descriptions of the other two men were not available, and the amount taken was not disclosed.