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Man sentenced to five years for robbing credit union

Cruz Daniel Maldonado pleaded guilty to robbing the Washington County Teachers Credit Union

January 11, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — A Hagerstown man who pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court to two counts of robbery at a credit union was sentenced to five years in state prison.

Cruz Daniel Maldonado, 19, of 42 Manor Drive, Apt. 3, was charged with robbing the Washington County Teachers Credit Union on Virginia Avenue in Williamsport on April 19, 2010, and with an attempted robbery of the same place a week later, according to court records.

"Quite frankly, I think you're getting a sweet deal, but I went along with it," Judge W. Kennedy Boone III told Maldonado in court in Hagerstown.

Under the plea agreement, the sentence was 15 years on each count to run concurrently, with all but five years suspended.

In the first holdup, a masked man entered the credit union at 9:45 a.m., demanded cash and made off with $5,507, the application for statement of charges said.

On April 26, 2010, two masked men attempted to get into the credit union shortly after 5 p.m., but the doors were locked and they fled, according to the application for statement of charges in that incident.

Maldonado's brother, Luis Maldonado, was indicted earlier this year by a federal grand jury on charges of robbing the same credit union on May 9, 2009.

Luis Maldonado, Justin Broadus of Hagerstown, Dwight Fulton of Hagerstown and Fulton's brother, Elvin Fulton of Waynesboro, Pa., were all indicted by the grand jury for a series of pharmacy holdups and financial institutions in the region, including five in Washington County, as well as drug distribution and conspiracy charges.

In May, a Washington County Sheriff's Office investigator interviewed an inmate at the county detention center who said Cruz Maldonado robbed the credit union and provided information which had not been released by authorities, the charging documents said.

Maldonado told the man he stole about $6,000 and used the sleeve of a shirt with holes cut for the eyes as a mask, the documents said.

The informant also said Maldonado had given him a ride after he had robbed a liquor store, the documents said.

In exchange for his plea, charges of second-degree assault, theft, criminal conspiracy to commit robbery and being an accessory after the fact were dismissed against Maldonado.

"There have been a rash of these kind of robberies" in the area, Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael said.

He read a letter from a credit union employee who wrote that she and other employees were still fearful months after the crimes.

"I am accusing him of associating with and being a gangster," Michael said.

Maldonado had no criminal record before these charges, said his attorney, Bernard W. Semler II.

"I don't know what made me act like this," Maldonado said as his parents watched. "I was raised in a good family."

Boone asked Maldonado what happened to the $5,507. Maldonado replied that he and others spent it on clothes and drugs.

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