One of two teenagers who has been charged in a string of armed robberies — including the robbery of a civilian deputy police commissioner — was being monitored by the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, court records show.
Police used credit cards taken during a spree of robberies to track the group as they purchased items from stores throughout the city. Investigators pulled video footage from stores where the cards were used to ultimately identify Godwin and Fowlkes.
Police said the spree began when a 2017 silver Chevy Traverse was stolen around 11 p.m. on July 18, in the 1900 block of Maryland Ave. in Station North, just before Artscape weekend, the charging document said.
The next day around 9 p.m., police said Fowlkes, Godwin and two other unidentified suspects had driven the Traverse to the 2200 block of E. Pratt St. where Murphy and his wife were walking.
One of the unidentified suspects, in all black clothing, approached the couple from behind, brandished a gun and demanded Murphy’s wife to hand over her purse, the charging documents said. A second suspect approached the couple, while the first suspect took Murphy’s wife’s purse to the Traverse where Fowlkes and Godwin were waiting. The suspects also took Murphy’s two cell phones and his wallet before getting into the backseat of the SUV and driving off.
Hours later, just after midnight on July 20, police were called to Yale Ave. in Southwest Baltimore where an Uber driver said he was carjacked at gunpoint by a group of four males, according to charging documents. The victim told police four men approached his 2017 Toyota Camry, one opened his door and told him to give him all that he had and to get out of the car.
One of the males, later identified as Fowlkes, pointed a gun at the victim and took cash from his shirt pocket. Fowlkes then ordered the victim out of the car and struck him in the side of the face with the gun and drove off in his car, the charging document said. The others got into other cars and also drove off.
Police used video surveillance footage of the four suspects from when they purchase items, and also showed them getting into the stolen Chevy, the charging document said. The department sent images of the suspects to other agencies, and were able to identify Fowlkes and Godwin. Police identified Fowlkes as the suspect who struck the Uber driver and fled in his car, the charging documents said. His GPS monitoring also showed he was on Yale Ave. at the time of the carjacking, the charging document said.
Jay Cleary, a juvenile services spokesman, declined to comment on Fowlkes’ case or GPS monitoring because he said the agency is prohibited from releasing information on juveniles cases.
Cleary, said however, that generally, GPS monitoring is used for youth who recently left secure residential treatment facilities, such as the Victor Cullen Center. Youth are sometimes required to be monitored for 90 days after returning home, he said. The agency will make recommendations depending on the case, but ultimately, Cleary said the decision is up to a judge.
GPS monitoring allows the agency to create “inclusion and exclusion zones,” which, for example, can be city blocks, or certain hours, Cleary said. If a child does go into an exclusion zone, the agency will get an alert which triggers a predetermined response, he said. The youth might get a text or phone call, he said, or a member of the agency might be dispatched.
On July 21, police located the Uber driver’s car in the 2100 block of Druid Hill Ave. and the department’s Foxtrot helicopter followed it and captured Fowlkes and Godwin exiting the car on video. The two were taken into custody.
Police later charged them as adults with numerous crimes, including armed carjacking and armed robbery, and a district court judge denied their release.
Neither teen had attorneys listed in court records, and family members did not respond to requests for comment.
Murphy said recently that the incident has only furthered his resolve to work in Baltimore, which has suffered a surge in violent crime since the 2015 unrest following Freddie Gray’s death.
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“It was certainly a difficult incident, but I’m committed to the work ahead. We’re here because there’s tremendous need for change in this city, and we’re here to transform this police department,” Murphy said previously.
Video footage released by the department showed the employee surrounded by three youths who punched him, knocked him down and kicked him — until he appeared to lose consciousness — and then searched his pockets.