Howard County police have charged Donald Lee Jackson, 39, in connection with an attempted robbery of a Columbia gas station and the holdup of a nearby optical store.
About 5:20 p.m. Thursday, a man entered the Amoco station in the 6200 block of Columbia Crossing Circle, implied that he had a weapon, assaulted a clerk and attempted to take money from the cash register, police said.
However, he couldn't get the register open and fled in a blue Chevrolet Monte Carlo as several customers approached the station.
Several minutes later, a man stole money and glasses from Guaranteed Best Optical in the 6400 block of Dobbin Road, according to police.
He also robbed a saleswoman of her cellular telephone.
The man, who left in a blue Chevrolet Monte Carlo, led police on a chase after the car struck an occupied vehicle at Route 175 and Dobbin Road.
He drove west on Route 175, made a U-turn and eventually headed south on Interstate 95.
Police said they arrested the driver after he veered onto the median near Route 32. Officers said they found no weapon in his possession.
Jackson, of no fixed address, was charged with attempted robbery, attempted robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of second-degree assault, robbery, armed robbery, felony theft and driving a stolen automobile.