Two Men Plead Guilty to Their Roles in a Series of Armed Commercial Robberies

January 7, 2011

Baltimore, Maryland - Evangelos Tsoukatos, age 48, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, pleaded guilty today and George Laloudakis, age 49, of Baltimore, Maryland pleaded guilty yesterday to their roles in a series of armed commercial robberies and two home invasion robberies. Laloudakis also pleaded guilty to using a firearm during a crime of violence.

The guilty pleas were 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 Gregg L. Bernstein; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

According to their plea agreements, Laloudakis, Tsoukatos and others, including Daniel Chase and Antowan Bell planned the robbery of the former owner of Citizens Pharmacy Services located on Market Street in Havre de Grace, Maryland. One of the robbers knew the store owner. The conspirators monitored the store owner’s residence in Pikesville, Maryland, believing that the owner kept some of the profits of his business at his home.

On September 2, 2009, Chase and Laloudakis drove up to the security gate of the neighborhood where the store owner’s residence was located. Chase called the owner from the gate’s security phone, pretended to be a police investigator and thereby gained access to the neighborhood. Once inside the home, and after the store owner’s wife joined them at Chase’s request, Chase opened a briefcase and took out a gun. Pointing the weapon at the couple, Chase ordered them to lie on the floor. Laloudakis then entered the residence wearing a black ski mask. At some point during the robbery, three women who provided maid services for the residence arrived and they too were ordered to the ground and restrained. The owner’s wife was forced to accompany Laloudakis to a bedroom closet to open the safe from which the robbers took cash and jewelry.

Next, Laloudakis, Tsoukatos and their conspirators planned to rob the owner of Sparrows Point Restaurant located on North Point Boulevard in Baltimore. Again, one of the conspirators knew the intended victim from eating at the restaurant, and had sold a mixing machine to the restaurant. Believing that the restaurant owner kept some of the business profits at his home in Cockeysville, Maryland, Tsoukatos, Laloudakis and their conspirators on at least two occasions followed the owner as he left his restaurant and drove to his residence. Because of a disagreement between Laloudakis and another conspirator, Antowan Bell was recruited to participate in this robbery as a substitute for Laloudakis.

On September 29, 2009, Chase and Bell drove to the restaurant owner’s residence, whereupon Chase falsely identified himself as an investigator with the Baltimore County State’s Attorney, displaying a fake badge he had created. Once inside, Chase took out a gun from a briefcase, pointed it at the restaurant owner and handcuffed the victim to a kitchen chair. Bell then entered the home, and the robbers demanded to know the location of the victim’s safe. The victim replied that he had no safe, but that money from his restaurant was in a drawer in the kitchen. Chase stole approximately $10,000 from the drawer. The robbers rummaged through the rest of the home and eventually discovered a safe in the basement. Chase forced the victim to provide the safe’s combination by threatening to cut off the victim’s finger. The robbers took approximately $140,000 from the safe, which included profits from the restaurant, and left the owner bound. That night, Bell, Tsoukatos, Chase and another conspirator rendezvoused in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where each received a portion of the robbery proceeds

Beginning on November 6, 2009, state authorities began monitoring the cellular phones calls of Chase and another conspirator During several calls, Chase and the other conspirator discussed the disagreement with Laloudakis, talked about killing Laloudakis and the possibility of traveling to Greece to do this. They also indicated that they did not intend to distribute an additional $5,000 of the proceeds from the prior robbery of the pharmacy owner to Laloudakis.

On November 8, 2009, Chase and Bell drove to Atlantic City, New Jersey where they met a third conspirator at a café to plan a robbery in New Jersey. Chase and his co-conspirators were arrested as they left the café.

Investigators searched Chase’s car and seized a brief case which contained mace, rope, rubber gloves, three sets of handcuffs, three empty money bags, a knife, tape, and a fake badge purporting to be identification for “John Peters” of the “Office of the Attorney General, Major Crimes Division” for the State of New Jersey, bearing a photograph of Chase.

Tsoukatos and Laloudakis face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the armed robberies and Laloudakis also faces a minimum mandatory sentence of seven years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, up to life in prison, for using a gun during a crime of violence. U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg has scheduled sentencing for Tsoukatos on May 13, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. and for Laloudakis on April 21, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.

Co-defendants Daniel Chase, age 65, of Browns Mill, New Jersey, and Antowan Bell, age 25, of Rosedale, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit armed commercial robberies, and using a firearm during a crime of violence. Chase also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit two home invasion robberies. Judge Legg has scheduled sentencing for Bell on March 8, 2011 at 2:15 p.m. and for Chase on March 24, 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.

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