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Writing on bills leads to conviction

January 29, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Two $1 bills, marked with "82" and "Jesus Loves You," were key evidence against a Hagerstown man who on Thursday admitted robbing the AC&T Gas Mart near Williamsport last August.

Robert Michael Edwards, 22, of the 300 block of South Potomac Street, was sentenced to five years in prison by Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell.

Edwards, who went in the store at 10:40 p.m. on Aug. 16, pleaded guilty to robbery. Additional charges of armed robbery, assault and theft were dropped in exchange for the plea.

McDowell sentenced Edwards to 12 years, suspending all but the five years. Probation was set at two years.

The robbery netted $361, many of which were $1 bills, according to Washington County State's Attorney Kenneth Long.

Shortly after the robbery, Maryland State Police broadcast a description of the getaway car, court records said.

Just after midnight, Hagerstown City Police officer Terry Hose stopped an older model gray Oldsmobile for going the wrong way down an alley and determined the car matched the description of the one involved in the robbery, court records said.

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Edwards, who was driving the car, had several $1 bills in his pockets, Long said. Two of those bills had the words "Jesus Loves You" and the number "82," written on them in ink. The victim remembered getting both of them earlier that night, Long said.

Charges against co-defendant Cosmos Charles, 18, of Hagerstown, were placed on the stet, or inactive docket, because evidence linking him to the robbery was suppressed earlier this week.

That evidence included the fact that Charles had a number of small bills stuffed in his pockets when he was located in Hagerstown with Edwards a few hours after the robbery.

McDowell suppressed that evidence because he found there was no probable cause for city police to detain Charles while the state police traveled into Hagerstown to investigate further.

"The clerk is here in court and she was in great fear that night," Long said.

Although no weapon was found, the clerk told police she saw a white object sticking out from under a shopping bag.

"I'm sorry now for what I did," Edwards said.

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