Former Prince George’s County Police Officer Pleads Guilty in Bank Break-in

July 6, 2010

Greenbelt, Maryland - Former Prince George’s County Police officer Eddie Lee Smith, Jr., age 42, of Fort Washington, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to breaking into a bank with intent to commit felony bank larceny.

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, Chief Roberto L. Hylton of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Chief Eugene A. Jones of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department; and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey.

Chief of Police Roberto L. Hylton stated, “I absolutely will not tolerate wrongdoing by any member of this agency. Bad cops have no place in our profession; they tarnish the good work that is being done by the rest of our employees. I am very appreciative of the hard work that the United States Attorney’s office did to ensure the swift prosecution of Mr. Eddie Smith.”

According to Smith’s plea agreement, on June 9, 2009, Smith, a uniformed Prince George’s County Police Officer met with Earl Blake in Prince George’s County and told Blake that he had a job for him. Smith drove Blake in his marked police cruiser to the SunTrust Bank located at 4625 Old Branch Avenue in Temple Hills, Maryland. Smith provided Blake with a black bag containing an electric grinder/saw and other materials and instructed Blake on how to cut open the ATM safe. Blake entered the SunTrust Bank through the front door which was unlocked. Although not on duty, Smith stayed in the area of the bank. At approximately 3:30 a.m., the bank alarm company received a fire alarm notification. Members of the Prince George’s County Fire Department responded and saw a Prince George’s County police cruiser sitting on the side of Beach Road, adjacent to the bank. The police cruiser followed the fire engine into the bank parking lot and Smith advised the firemen that he had checked the building and it was secured. Firemen smelled the odor of burning metal and moments later one of the firemen saw Earl Blake inside the bank. Blake fled through the rear bank door. Smith ran around the rear of the bank as if to pursue Blake, but he returned moments later and left the scene without speaking to the firemen or contacting his dispatcher. Blake was subsequently arrested by other Prince George’s County Police Department officers who also entered the bank and recovered an electric grinder/saw and observed damage to the ATM located in the rear of the bank. The ATM contained approximately $40,540 which Smith and Blake intended to steal.

Smith faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has scheduled sentencing for October 18, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.

Co-defendant Earl Blake, age 53, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, pleaded guilty to the same charge and is scheduled to be sentenced on August 12, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Deborah A. Johnston, who is prosecuting the case.


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