At least three robberies of cell phone stores in the county may have been carried out by a group of criminals striking stores throughout the Washington, DC and Baltimore area, Anne Arundel County police said.
The commander of the police department's Western District said Wednesday that the robbery of a Verizon Wireless store on March 9 in Odenton was similar in nature to several robberies throughout the region, including at least two others in Anne Arundel County. A similar crime was reported on March 5 at the Verizon Wireless store in Edgewater.
Capt. Herbert Hasenpusch said the department is working with law enforcement agencies in Montgomery County in Maryland and Spotsylvania County in Virginia, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, among other groups.
"This is part of a large scheme," Hasenpusch said Wednesday at the meeting of the local Police-Community Relations Council.
Hasenpusch said the crew has targeted Verizon Wireless and AT&T stores, often getting away with high-priced mobile phones and tablets. He declined to offer more specific details on the suspected group, citing ongoing investigations.
Hasenpusch said that in the past, police worked with companies to prevent burglars from stealing merchandise when stores are closed. These robberies are different, he said, because they have taken place with employees present, usually near closing time.
The robbery on March 9 in Odenton took place at 8:15 p.m. and police said two men came in armed with a handgun and demanded cash and merchandise before fleeing.
Suspect descriptions differed slightly between the two incidents, but witnesses said the crimes were carried out by two men working together, with at least one armed with a handgun.