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Va. man admits robbing banks in Md., W.Va.

August 24, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A man charged in a two-state robbery spree in March pleaded guilty Tuesday to robbing banks in Hagerstown and Inwood, W.Va.

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Charles Franklin Adams III, 31, of Stephen City, Va., admitted he robbed the Hagerstown Trust branch at West Side Avenue on March 15 and the Blue Ridge Bank in Inwood on March 22 as part of a plea agreement entered in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg.

Adams also agreed to pay restitution of $39,086 he took from the banks, including $8,678 he admitted taking during the robbery at the Hagerstown Trust branch on Dual Highway on March 4.

Under an agreement between U.S. Attorney's Offices in Maryland and Virginia, Adams waived his right to trial for the three bank robbery charges.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Mucklow said the March 15 bank robbery is the "count of conviction" for the Maryland bank robberies and refused further comment.

Under the plea agreement, Adams faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each of the two bank robbery charges.

An admitted drug user who said in court he has been clean since he was jailed for the Inwood bank robbery, Adams was on parole for a previous string of robberies in the early 1990s when he was arrested for the Inwood bank robbery.

Adams, who worked as a carpenter, was arrested at a Martinsburg hotel March 22, a few hours after he walked into an Inwood bank just before 11:45 a.m. and threatened to kill a teller if a bag with money wasn't filled.

Nearby construction workers watched Adams drive away from the bank in a black 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse, which was later spotted parked at the Hampton Inn near the Martinsburg Mall.

Police found Adams in a room at the hotel and bank tellers identified him as the robber. Police also found the $19,361 taken from the Inwood bank.

Adams later confessed to police that he had taken $11,047 from a Hagerstown bank on March 15 when he demanded tellers fill a pillowcase with money, Martinsburg FBI Special Agent Thomas Flosnick said.

No one was injured in any of the robberies.

After his arrest for the Inwood bank robbery, Adams told police he had robbed two motels and a gas station on March 21 and March 22, state police said at the time.

Hagerstown City Police had stopped Adams the previous week because his car matched a description in the March 15 Hagerstown Trust bank robbery but released him because of a lack of evidence.

An attempt to contact the Washington County State's Attorney's Office in Hagerstown for comment on the status of the the local charges against Adams was unsucessful. The office had closed for the day.

Adams has been held in the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg on $50,000 bond since his arrest in Martinsburg. Sentencing in federal court is set for Nov. 15.

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