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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Baltimore Felon Pleads Guilty to Two Armed Robberies

Robbed a Convenience Store and a Bank

Baltimore, Maryland – On August 20, 2019, Benjamin Fowlkes, age 35, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty to the armed robbery of a convenience store and the armed robbery of a bank.  

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to his plea agreement, on November 26, 2018, shortly before 11 p.m., Fowlkes robbed a convenience store located in the 2700 block of West Franklin Street in Baltimore, displaying what appeared to be a silver semiautomatic handgun, but was in fact an air gun.  Fowlkes ordered the store employees to open the cash register and give him the cash, which they did.  Fowlkes then fled.

The next day, Fowlkes robbed a bank located in the 3600 block of Boston Street in Baltimore. Shortly after the bank opened, Fowlkes entered the bank and asked to open an account.  Fowlkes was directed to a customer service employee in another part of the bank.  Fowlkes pulled a yellow folder from a white mesh laundry bag, asked for a pen, and then wrote a note demanding money, which he passed to the employee. The employee advised that there was no money in the customer service area.  Fowlkes took the note back, stated that he had a gun, and drew what appeared to be a silver semiautomatic handgun—but that was in fact an air gun—from the white mesh laundry bag.  Fowlkes told the employee, who was on crutches, to get up slowly.  The victim employee complied and walked to the teller area of the bank, where two other employees were working, to get the money Fowlkes demanded.  Fowlkes followed her there.  While in the teller area, Fowlkes again displayed the silver air gun and demanded money, and also demanded one of the tellers’ car keys.  One employee handed over the keys to his car—a Hyundai Sonata—and another employee handed Fowlkes the cash from the teller drawers, which Fowlkes placed in the white mesh laundry bag.  Fowlkes then escaped in the stolen Hyundai Sonata.

Fowlkes was arrested on November 29, 2018, after a Baltimore Police Officer in the Southwestern District determined that the tags on a Hyundai Sonata driven by Fowlkes had been stolen.  When Fowlkes was pulled over, he was wearing the same zip-up hoodie worn during the robberies, and he had $2,021 in cash on him, which was stolen from the bank.  A subsequent search warrant executed at his residence resulted in law enforcement recovering the white mesh laundry bag, yellow folder, and demand note used at the bank robbery, mail addressed to the owner of the Hyundai Sonata, which Fowlkes had taken from the stolen car, and the silver air gun used in connection with both robberies.

As part of his plea agreement, Fowlkes will be required to pay restitution in the full amount of the victims’ losses, which is at least $7,250.

Fowlkes and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the plea agreement, Fowlkes will be sentenced to between 120 months and 235 months in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for November 1, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Riley, who prosecuted the case.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated August 21, 2019