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Robbery suspect held

February 28, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

TRI-STATE - The man police believe is responsible for a recent string of armed robberies in the Tri-State area, including one early Saturday on Dual Highway, was being held Sunday in Fairfax County, Va., according to authorities there.

He was taken into custody Saturday after a chase with police in Virginia and Frederick County, Md., officers confirmed Sunday.

Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Paul Kifer said Sunday that a man wanted in connection with Saturday morning's robbery of the Hampton Inn on Dual Highway was jailed in Fairfax County on traffic charges stemming from a police chase that ended there.

Kifer, who did not release the man's name, said he is the same man who is wanted in armed robberies in Frederick County, West Virginia and Virginia. The man had not been charged by local police as of late Sunday, Kifer said.

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In the Hampton Inn robbery, reported at 1:20 a.m., a man took an undetermined amount of cash after showing a black handgun to an employee, according to the Hagerstown Police Department.

According to a Frederick County Sheriff's Department news release, deputies stopped a "suspicious vehicle" on Grove Road, just before 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Sheriff's deputies and Maryland State Police troopers pursued the man through areas including Buckeystown Pike (Md. 85) and Interstate 270, the release states.

Maryland authorities turned the case over to Virginia at the state line, deputies said.

Fairfax County Police Department Officer Richard Henry said the chase ended at about 3:30 a.m. when the man's vehicle collided with a police cruiser. Henry said the man was charged with felony counts of speed to elude, assault on a police officer and habitual offender.

Henry said Sunday he was unaware if the man had been charged by officers in any other jurisdiction.

"I know there is interest," Henry said.

Henry said the man was being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center in Fairfax, Va., without bond.

Representatives from at least nine police agencies in four states and the U.S. Marshals Service met Thursday at the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department to discuss robbery investigations and share evidence in incidents throughout the Tri-State area in recent weeks.

Among the armed robberies being considered:

n Towne and Country Liquors on Water Street in Thurmont, Md., on Feb. 17

n Cozy Country Inn on Frederick Road in Thurmont on Feb. 20

n Super 8 Motel on Tippin Drive in Thurmont on Feb. 24

n Econo Lodge on Md. 355 in Frederick County, Md., on Feb. 24

n Extended StayAmerica on Westview Drive in Frederick County on Feb. 24

n Waffle House on W.Va. 51 in Berkeley County, W.Va., on Feb. 21

n Shell on U.S. 340 North outside Charles Town, W.Va., on Feb. 21

n H-Mart at W.Va. 9 and New York Avenue in Berkeley County on Feb. 19

Lt. K.C. Bohrer of the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department said the pattern in several robberies was similar.

Kifer said Sunday that the man being held in Virginia is not believed to be connected to a Jan. 31 robbery in Halfway.

Washington County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Timothy Baker said the FBI has charged a man in connection with that robbery, at the Fidelity Bank at Virginia Avenue and Halfway Boulevard. Baker said that man, whose identity he did not release, is not the one being held in Fairfax County.

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