Howard County police have filed warrants against two men in connection with the armed robberies of eight businesses during a streak of about 40 crimes around the state and in Northern Virginia since late last year.
Kenneth Hiligh, 22, of Capitol Heights, and Terrance Maith, 20, of Suitland, were arrested by Prince George's County police late last month.
Howard police say the pair is responsible for a string of holdups in an area south of U.S. 40 and north of the Howard-Prince George's line from Dec. 7 to Feb. 24.
"The arrests of these guys is very significant," said Howard police Sgt. Steve Keller, a police spokesman. "This allowed us to close a lot of cases."
Over the past three years, both men have been arrested for robberies, larcenies and auto thefts by police departments throughout Central Maryland and Northern Virginia, according to court records.
Prince George's County police tracked them down based on leads and information from crime victims.
Police arrested Mr. Hiligh March 20 after a short car chase in that county and Mr. Maith at a northeast Washington home March 21, according to Prince George's police Lt. Greg Jones.
Mr. Hiligh was being held at the Prince George's County jail in Upper Marlboro on $150,000 bond yesterday.
Mr. Maith is being held at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center on $80,000 bond, jail officials said. He was transferred from the Prince George's facility March 28.
Authorities in Howard and Prince George's counties say the men also are named in warrants charging them with robberies and thefts in Charles, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties.
They are also being investigated in connection with other crimes in Northern Virginia.
A Howard County detective met with detectives from other jurisdictions in Prince George's County yesterday to discuss the robbery spree and share information.
Prince George's authorities have charged Mr. Hiligh and Mr. Maith with three robberies, with more charges pending after they are indicted.
The men are suspected in a number of carjackings or car thefts as far south as Northern Virginia. They had a penchant for stealing Acura Legends and other high-performance vehicles they used during robberies, Prince George's Lieutenant Jones said.
A search warrant was issued for Mr. Maith's Suitland residence after his arrest, and police found a loaded .357-caliber Magnum and other evidence that Prince George's County police say link him to several crimes.
Both men will not be charged in all eight Howard cases because police believe only one of them was involved in some incidents.
In most of the Howard cases, one robber would guard patrons and employees, while the other would take cash.
Police say that although there are other incidents in Howard County that match the two suspects' pattern of robberies, Mr. Hiligh and Mr. Maith are not suspects in them.
"There was always the possibility of more than one group of players doing the robberies," Sergeant Keller said.
In Howard County, police say that the robberies for which warrants have been issued are:
* Dec. 7: Red Roof Inn, 8000 block of Washington Blvd. in Jessup.
* Dec. 7: Johns Hopkins Texaco, 10900 block of Johns Hopkins Road in Scaggsville.
* Dec. 13: Shaker Drive Mobil, 10000 block of Old Columbia Road in Columbia's Kings Contrivance village.
* Dec. 22: Marriott Courtyard, 8900 block of Stanford Blvd. in Columbia's Owen Brown village.
* Jan. 19: Tiger Mart, Harry's Exxon, 7900 block of Washington Blvd. in Jessup.
* Jan. 26: Restaurant Park Exxon, 8300 block of Benson Drive in Columbia's Long Reach village.
* Jan. 27: Dorsey Hall Mobil, 4700 block of Dorsey Hall Drive in Ellicott City.
* Feb. 24: All Saints Crown, 9200 block of All Saints Road in North Laurel.