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Man found guilty of felony theft

May 09, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

A Hagerstown man pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court, but agreed to a statement of facts related to charges he faced in connection with a robbery and assault at Urban Exchange in Valley Mall.

Kenneth Longus, 21, was charged with robbery, second-degree assault and felony theft.

The charges stem from a Sept. 13, 2006, incident in which four men went into Urban Exchange, Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler read during a statement of facts Tuesday. The store's owner recognized two of them as men who had tried to steal from him before, Pauler said.

Damon Vass, the owner of Urban Exchange, watched as the men took clothes off the rack, Pauler said. He approached the group, was hit and doesn't remember anything else about the incident, Pauler said.

Vass called the Washington County Sheriff's Department after The Herald-Mail ran a photograph of Longus and story about handgun charges.

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Vass said "he immediately recognized Longus as one of the persons who entered his store on Sept. 13 and assaulted and robbed him," according to charging documents.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell ruled that Longus is guilty of felony theft, based on the statement of facts, but withheld his ruling on the other charges until he can review the law.

McDowell said he will review previous cases discussed by Pauler and Longus' defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jerome J. Joyce, who disagreed over whether their agreed-upon statement of facts stipulated that Longus is guilty of robbery.

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