From Maryland State Police:
Joppatowne, MD _ Detectives working a serial robbery case nabbed the assailant seconds after he struck a pharmacy on the Pulaski Highway corridor in Harford County Thursday night.
Anthony Pierre Willis, 45, of the 4000 block of Hawksbury Road, Pikesville, Maryland, was taken into custody as he left the Rite Aid Pharmacy in the 300 block of Pulaski Highway, near Joppatowne. He was charged with armed robbery, robbery, assault, theft and resisting arrest in connection with Thursday’s heist. Charges are pending in connection with three other robberies in Harford County.
Maryland State Police and Harford County Sheriff’s Office detectives joined forces to stop the robber after he targeted pharmacies and an eatery in the Edgewood area starting nine days earlier. In three robberies between November 10 and November 13, a black male in his 40s sporting a salt/pepper beard, clad in a tan hooded jacket with distinctive black stripes along the sides, held up clerks during the evening hours. During some of the robberies the suspect would actually display the butt of a handgun to the clerks as he demanded cash from the register.
Shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday, Troopers and Sheriff’s Deputies captured Willis as he walked from the Rite Aid establishment to his getaway vehicle, found stashed in the woods nearby. At the time of his arrest, Willis was in possession of a pellet gun which resembled a semi-automatic handgun. He also was found to have a wad of cash concealed on his person.
Based on the investigation, Maryland State Police and Harford County Sheriff’s Office detectives linked Willis to the following robberies:
– The CVS Pharmacy, located at 1301 Woodbridge Center Way, Edgewood, MD., at around 9:55 p.m. on November 10th ;
– The Friendly’s Restaurant, located at the 1400 block of Pulaski Highway, Edgewood, MD., around 10 p.m. on November 10th ; and
– The Walgreen’s Pharmacy located 1930 Pulaski Hwy, Edgewood, MD., at around 8:40 p.m. on November 13th.
During the robberies of the Friendly’s and the Walgreen’s, the suspect displayed the butt of a handgun tucked in his waistband. In all three Harford County robberies, he verbally ordered the clerks to hand over U.S. currency. Willis also displayed the butt of the handgun when he ordered the clerk to turn over cash during Thursday’s robbery of the Rite Aid. No injuries were reported during any of the robberies.
Detectives from both the State Police and Sheriff’s Office were in constant contact with Baltimore County Police Department detectives after it was learned a suspect matching Willis’ description was being sought in connection with several armed robberies in the Catonsville area. Baltimore County detectives advised a Walgreens, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and a KFC were held up in a similar fashion.
After recognizing a pattern, Troopers and Deputies collectively saturated the Edgewood area, establishing surveillance on likely targets.
Willis was observed by Sgt. James DeCourcey of MSP – Bel Air Barrack, who was conducting surveillance from a concealed location near the Rite Aid. Willis was taken into custody by Sgt. DeCourcey with the assistance of Cpl. Justin Gross of MSP – Bel Air Barrack and Detective Pete Georgiades of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office CID.
Within minutes of the apprehension there were 911 calls originating from the Rite Aid and it was confirmed that a robbery had just occurred.