Armed Robber Pleads Guilty to Participating in the Planning and Execution of Two Home Invasion Robberies
Baltimore, Maryland - Antowan Bell, age 25, of Rosedale, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit a series of armed commercial robberies and using a firearm during a crime of violence.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III of the Baltimore City Police Department; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
According to Bell’s plea agreement, Bell was part of a conspiracy to steal the proceeds of commercial businesses along with the cash and personal property of the owners of those businesses.
Bell admitted that on September 29, 2009, he and his co-defendants planned the robbery of the owner of the Sparrows Point Restaurant. One of the conspirators drove to the area of the restaurant to confirm that the owner had left for the day. Bell and another conspirator drove to the owner’s home, where the co-defendant gained entry to the home by identifying himself as an investigator with the State’s Attorney’s office, displaying a fake badge that he had manufactured. Once inside the house, the co-defendant pulled a gun from a briefcase and handcuffed the victim to a kitchen chair. Bell then entered the home and demanded to know the location of the victim’s safe. The victim denied having a safe, but told the robbers there was money from the restaurant in a kitchen drawer. The co-defendant took approximately $10,000 from the drawer in the kitchen. Bell and the co-defendant rummaged through the house, eventually locating the safe in the basement. They forced the victim to the basement at gunpoint and demanded the combination to the safe, threatening to cut off the victim’s finger if he refused. Bell and the co-conspirator took approximately $150,000 from the safe, which included profits from the Sparrows Point Restaurant, and left the victim bound and physically restrained.
On November 8, 2009, Bell and a co-conspirator drove to Atlantic City where they met a third conspirator at a café, to plan a robbery in New Jersey. Bell and his co-conspirators were arrested as they left the café.
Bell faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy and a minimum of seven years and up to life in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, for using a firearm during a crime of violence. U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg has scheduled sentencing for January 13, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked: the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore City Police Department; Baltimore County Police Department; New Jersey State Police; the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Debra L. Dwyer and Thiru Vignarajah, who are prosecuting the case.