(Harford County, MD: December 9, 2009) The Harford County Joint Investigative Task Force consisting of members from the Maryland State Police Bel Air Barracks and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office arrested William Preston Grace Jr., age 22, of Port Deposit, MD in connection with several armed robberies and thefts that occurred in Harford County between December 7 and December 9, 2009. Harford County locations related to Grace’s arrest include Fallston 7-11 Convenience Store, Redner’s Warehouse Market, The Dublin Market, Bel Air 7-11 Convenience Store, Sunoco in Rock Springs, Halsey’s Market and Saubel’s Market in Pylesville, MD.
Due to the frequency and similarity of the series of robberies, on December 9, 2009 deputies and troopers saturated the northern end of Harford County searching for the primary suspect who had been identified through investigation as William Preston Grace Jr. As the search developed, it was determined that Grace was operating a Volkswagen Tiguan that had been stolen on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 from the 1400 block of Tayside Way in Bel Air, MD.
On December 9, 2009 at approximately 2:30am, a robbery occurred at the 7-11 in the 1300 block of Churchville Road. Continued investigation guided law enforcement officers to Delta, PA. When shortly thereafter at approximately 8:30am an attempted robbery occurred at Halsey Market and less than an hour later at Saubel’s Market both in Pylesville a short distance from Delta, PA. The description of the suspect in both of these attempted robberies matched the characteristics of the earlier robberies. Quickly, troopers and deputies were able to establish a perimeter of the area. Grace was observed around 11:30am in the stolen Volkswagen traveling Southbound on Route 161, Darlington Road in Darlington MD.
Working together, along with aviation resources, troopers and deputies were able to apprehend the subject in a cornfield off the 3400 block of Old Level Road, Darlington MD following a high-speed vehicle pursuit that lasted approximately six miles, and less than ten minutes. In effort to evade capture, the suspect, Grace rammed a Maryland State Trooper’s car on the passenger side door. The trooper was able to maneuver his car in such a manner which prevented the stolen vehicle operated by Grace from continuing further. Grace was placed under arrest. There was also a passenger in the vehicle that was detained for questioning, but was released with no charges.
The following charges have been filed against William Preston Grace, Jr., 22 of Port Deposit, MD – First Degree Assault, Second Degree Assault, Malicious Destruction Of Property Over $ 1,000, Armed Robbery, Theft, Motor Vehicle Theft and multiple traffic charges as a result of the high speed pursuit. In addition, Grace has been connected to several other criminal incidents to include the burglary of Cliff’s Liquors in Darlington, MD that occurred on November 26, 2009. He may also be connected to several robberies in the Southern York County region of PA.
Grace is currently being held at the Harford County Detention Center Interagency Processing Center where he is waiting for his initial hearing before a District Court Commissioner.
The successful apprehension of William Preston Grace in connection with the serial robberies was a direct result of multi-agency cooperation to include resources and personnel from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police, Baltimore County Police Department, and Pennsylvania State Police.
Law Enforcement Officers to be recognized for their hard work and contribution include: Detective Peter Georgiades, Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Sergeant Jim DeCourcey, Maryland State Police, Corporal Justin Gross, Maryland State Police, Corporal Jeffrey Pettitt , MSP – Bel Air Barracks, DFC Grant Krulock, HCSO – Northern Precinct, Sergeant Benjamin Neal, MSP – Bel Air Barracks, Sgt Jeff Kloiber, Maryland State Police, Detective Shawn Craig, HCSO – Auto Theft Unit