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Man gets 2-year term in armed robbery of Columbia restaurant


A Baltimore man was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday for his role in an armed robbery at a fast-food restaurant in Columbia in December.

Edward William Keene Jr., 22, of the 500 block of Fulton Ave., was sentenced after pleading guilty to a robbery charge before Howard Circuit Judge Raymond Kane Jr.

The prosecution dropped additional counts of armed robbery, assault, battery and weapons violations as part of the plea agreement.

Keene and two other men confronted a manager and three employees as they were leaving the Wendy's restaurant at Dobbin Center early Dec. 18, court records say.

One of the men held a gun to the manager's head and ordered him and the employees back into the restaurant, which is in the 6300 block of Dobbin Road.

Once inside, the employees were ordered to lie on the floor behind the service counter while the manager opened a safe in the restaurant's office, records say.

The robbers fled with about $2,400.

County police were called to the restaurant.

Meanwhile, the robbers' getaway car, a purple Geo Storm, was spotted by a Maryland State Police trooper on Interstate 95, records say.

The trooper followed the vehicle to Valley Road in Catonsville, where the men stopped and ran from the car.

The trooper, assisted by another trooper, caught the car's driver, James Jay Morris, 26, of the 2500 block of Violet Ave. in Baltimore, court records say. The other men got away.

Mr. Morris, who is Keene's cousin, told police he met the other men at a Baltimore City pizza shop before the robbery.

Investigators later went to the shop, where they met Keene, according to court records.

Keene told police he wasn't involved in the robbery, but one of the Wendy's employees identified him as one of the assailants, records say.

Mr. Morris is scheduled for a Howard Circuit Court trial in September. He is charged with armed robbery, robbery, assault, battery and weapons violations.

The third suspect has not been arrested.

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