- The Washington Times - Monday, July 14, 2003

Police say a recent spate of robberies in Prince George’s County supermarkets is likely unrelated to a series of similar robberies throughout Maryland.

Police said the Prince George’s County robberies were committed by a hooded man who leapt into management offices in two Giant Food stores along Laurel-Bowie Road and demanded cash at gunpoint.

However, the armed man who robbed banks inside eight supermarkets in Anne Arundel, Charles, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties wore multiple disguises.

Nobody has been injured in the robberies and no arrests have been made, police said.

They have not disclosed how much money was taken.

The most recent robbery was June 21 in Prince George’s, when a man in a hooded sweat shirt entered the Giant in the 6800 block of Laurel-Bowie Road in Bowie.

He scaled the wall of a management enclosure at the front of the store, dropped inside, then took an undisclosed amount of cash. Police would not say whether he ran off or fled by car.

“It’s still open right now,” said Detective T. Calmon of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

The May 10 robbery at a Giant in the 13600 block of Laurel-Bowie Road in Laurel was committed in a similar manner.

Police said the surveillance video in both robberies shows a black male in his 20s or 30s.

Detective Calmon said the suspect also might have robbed a Giant on June 7 at the 5800 block of Riverdale Road in Riverdale Park.

In Montgomery County, police met in June with authorities from surrounding counties to discuss eight similar robberies.

In those cases, the robber is described as a black male, 25 to 40 years old, about 5 feet 11 inches tall, 180 pounds and wearing such disguises as a motorcycle helmet or head scarf.

“We believe [the robberies] are connected, but we do not have the hard evidence,” a Montgomery County police spokeswoman said in June.

Some of the robberies occurred within one or two days of each other.

Detective Calmon said he has yet to talk with Montgomery County in his investigation, but he doubts there is a connection because the Giant stores did not have banks.

However, a bank inside a Giant in Rockville was robbed June 8, a day after the Riverdale Park robbery.

Customers at the Laurel store said they were unaware of the robbery.

Rose Bland, who lives nearby, was surprised to learn of the holdup.

“It does concern me,” Miss Bland said.

An employee at the bread counter, who gave her name only as Maggie, said the security guard at the front of the store has been added since the robbery.

“It’s scary,” she said. “Things like this happen.”

The security guard, who would not give her name, said the store now has a guard on duty seven days a week, but no other safety measures have been taken.

Asked if the store was safe, she pointed at her belt, which held no weapon. “Do I look armed?” she said. “You think I’m going to chase” an armed robber?

A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and indictment. Crime Solvers can be reached at 301/735-1111 in Prince George’s County or 800/673-7777 in Montgomery County. Giant is offering an additional $9,000 reward.

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