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GPS feature on stolen cell phone leads to prison sentence

December 04, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The GPS feature of a stolen cell phone was used to track down a Hagerstown man who was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court to five years in prison for robbery and escape.

Kristopher Shawn Lawrence, 26, of 21 Madison Ave., entered an Alford plea for the robbery charge and pleaded guilty to second-degree escape. Judge Daniel P. Dwyer sentenced him to 10 years in prison, suspending five years.

An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgment by the defendant that the state has enough evidence to gain a conviction.

On the afternoon of July 16, Hagerstown police were called to 42 East Ave. for a report of an armed robbery, the statement of probable cause said. In a garage behind the address were two men, one of whom had an injury to his head, the document said.

They said a man armed with a pistol came in, struck one of the men in the head with it and took $1,500 from one victim and both men’s cell phones, the charging document said. While that was happening another man, who was also armed with a pistol, came to the garage door, the document said.

The two gunmen left and were seen getting into a gold Toyota four-door, the charging document said. A third person was driving the car, the document said.

Police contacted the cell phone provider and one victim’s phone was tracked to the first block of Madison Avenue, the charging document said. A woman gave police permission to go into the house and Lawrence was found in a bedroom, the document said.

An officer saw Lawrence appear to throw something and a search of the room turned up the phone, which police communications called to verify it belonged to the victim, the charging document said. Police also found a black pellet gun inside a backyard grill, the document said.

Lawrence was identified by one of the victims through a two-way mirror at police headquarters, the document said.

Lawrence told police that he knew the gunman who struck the one victim only as “Ty” and that he had never before seen the driver of the Toyota, the charging document said. Lawrence denied having a gun or taking anything from the victims, or knowing that Ty intended to commit a robbery, the document said.

After being questioned at headquarters, Lawrence was handcuffed and taken to a cruiser in the parking lot to be driven to the detention center, the charging document said. As an officer was unlocking the vehicle, Lawrence bolted, running several blocks before being caught, the document said.

“He indicates he’s given (police) what he knows,” Assistant Public Defender Carl Creeden told Dwyer. Ty was a person Lawrence played basketball with at Noland Village, Creeden said.

As to the cell phone, Creeden said Lawrence related that Ty came by his house after the robbery and asked to use the bathroom, at which time he might have left the stolen phone behind.

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