Pa. man sentenced to 10 and a half years for robbery conspiracy

Robert Gene Harris was sentenced Friday to 10 and a half years in prison for his role in robberies in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Harris, 29, of Chambersburg, Pa., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg of the Maryland district court for conspiracy to commit armed robberies and the use of a firearm during a violent crime. The judge also ordered Harris to pay $14,925.


Harris' prison term will be followed by three years of supervised release, according to U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

Harris conspired with Ernest Widener, 54, of Baltimore; Freddie Douglas Widener, 55, of Dundalk; and Richard Adams, 53, of Baltimore, between July and November 2010 to rob a bank and a pharmacy to get money and drugs, according to plea agreements. Lacy Varner, whose age and residence were unavailable, was also party to the conspiracy, according to Rosenstein's office.


The U.S. Attorney's office laid out the following scenario:

Ernest Widener acquired two handguns in Baltimore that were used during the robberies.

Freddie Widener and Adams attempted to rob the Loch Raven Pharmacy on East Northern Parkway in Baltimore on Sept. 15, 2010. Freddie Widener fired his gun during the attempted robbery. Both he and Adams were armed.

Lacy Varner drove a getaway car. Adams was apprehended at the scene, but Widener escaped with Varner.

Three days later, Ernest Widener and Terry Blair, 52, of Baltimore set fire to a 1996 Plymouth Neon that had been used to escape after the Sept. 15, 2010, pharmacy robbery attempt and after a July 30, 2010, bank robbery. The idea was to destroy the car.

Harris robbed an M&T Bank on Philadelphia Avenue in Chambersburg on July 30, 2010, with Freddie Widener. The two men fled the bank and Harris was arrested at the scene.

Co-defendants Ernest Widener, Freddie Douglas Widener, Adams and Blair previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the robberies, according to Rosenstein's office. Blair and Ernest Widener were each sentenced to five years in prison; Adams was sentenced to 14 years and five months in prison; and Freddie Douglas Widener was sentenced to 19 years and four months in prison.

No information about Varner was available from the Maryland U.S. Attorney's office.