Prince George’s County Armed Robber Exiled to 30 Years in Prison

June 1, 2012

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Gregory Graves, age 33, of District Heights, Maryland, today to 30 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for two counts of armed robbery, using and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Judge Messitte enhanced Graves’ sentence upon finding that he is an armed career criminal and a career offender based on three previous convictions for crimes of violence. Graves was convicted by a jury on February 23, 2012.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Director in Charge James W. McJunkin of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Washington Field Office; and Chief Mark A. Magaw of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

According to evidence presented at Graves’ three day trial, on December 31, 2009, at about 3:15 a.m., Graves entered a convenience store in the 7400 block of Central Avenue in Capitol Heights, Maryland, posing as a customer. Witnesses testified that when the cashier opened the register, Graves pulled a sawed-off shotgun with blue tape on the handle from inside his coat, pointed the gun at the cashier, and demanded all the money in the cash register. The cashier gave Graves the money and he fled the store. The store’s surveillance camera captured the robbery, including a clear shot of Graves’ face.

According to trial testimony, on January 6, 2010, Graves attempted to rob another convenience store located in the 2900 block of Boone’s Lane in District Heights, Maryland, brandishing a knife and demanding all the money from the cash register. Witnesses testified that the employees refused and one employee jumped over the counter to get away, while another employee went into a nearby office. As Graves tried to open the cash register himself, testimony showed that a store employee sprayed Graves with pepper spray, and Graves fled. One of the victims was able to provide police with a description of Graves’ getaway car.

According to trial testimony, Prince George’s County Police located a car on the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration database that matched the description provided by the victims and obtained a copy of Graves’s driver’s license photo. Testimony showed that the police identified Graves as the robber of the Central Avenue convenience store by comparing his MVA photo with the surveillance still from the security video.

Graves was arrested on January 9, 2010, and police recovered a loaded, sawed-off shotgun, with blue tape on the handle, from the back yard of Graves’ residence. Based on surveillance video footage, the gun appeared to be the same one Graves used in the Central Avenue robbery.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in this investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Cheryl Crumpton and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Liza Collery, who prosecuted the case.

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