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Bank robbery charges moving to circuit court

August 05, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A judge in Washington County District Court found probable cause Wednesday to forward to circuit court charges against a Martinsburg, W.Va., man accused of robbing two Washington County banks.

Bobby Gene Shelly, 33, of 28 Fletcher Court, has been charged with robbing an M&T Bank branch in Williamsport in May and an M&T Bank branch in Hagerstown in June.

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday in district court, Washington County Sheriff's Department Detective Greg Alton testified that police have investigated possible connections with four bank robberies in Washington County and Jefferson County, W.Va.

After the hearing, Alton said the four robberies were:

o May 12 at M&T Bank on West Potomac Street in Williamsport

o May 26 at M&T Bank at Valley Mall in Halfway

o May 29 at MVB Bank in Charles Town, W.Va.

o June 26 at M&T Bank on Garland Groh Boulevard in Hagerstown

Shelly was charged with committing the May 12 and June 26 robberies.

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During a phone interview Wednesday afternoon, Detective Tracy Edwards of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said one person -- not Shelly -- has been charged in the May 29 robbery. Police are still looking at possible links between the robberies, Edwards said.

Alton testified Wednesday that a man entered the Williamsport M&T Bank branch on the morning of May 12, stood in line and handed a teller a personal check.

A handwritten message on the check demanded money and warned, "I am armed."

Alton said the robber got away with $3,257.

The method, message and description in the Williamsport robbery were similar to other robberies, he said.

Defense attorney Andrea Chee-a-tow of the public defender's office questioned Alton about the description and the possibility it didn't match Shelly.

But Frederick J. Bower, a retired Frederick County district judge sitting in Washington County, cut off her line of inquiry, noting the testimony was only for a preliminary hearing, which has a lower standard of proof.

Court records show Shelly faces charges of robbery, armed robbery, second-degree assault and theft of more than $500 in the May 12 robbery. He is charged with robbery and theft of more than $500 in the June 26 robbery.

Bower forwarded both cases to Washington County Circuit Court.

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