Baltimore, Maryland – Derek Roberts, age 45, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit three armed robberies and using and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. In total, Roberts admitted to acting as the gunman in four armed robberies.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
According to Roberts’ plea agreement, from September 2013 through October 11, 2013, Roberts conspired with Rodney Smith to commit armed robberies at a fast food restaurant, a drug store and a gas station. Roberts also admitted robbing another store with co-conspirator Richard Bruzdzinski.
According to their plea agreements, on the morning of September 15, 2013, Roberts and Smith went to a fast food restaurant in Rosedale, Maryland, and waited for an employee to arrive. When the employee arrived to open the store Roberts and Smith approached him. Roberts pointed a loaded gun at the employee and pushed him into the store. Roberts tied up the victim and demanded money from the cash register. Roberts and Smith stole approximately $200 from the restaurant. On September 27, 2013, Roberts and Smith robbed a drug store in Havre de Grace. When two employees began closing the store, Roberts pointed a loaded gun at the employees and forced them into the store, where he and Smith tied up the victims and demanded money. One of the victims opened the store safe and Roberts took money from the safe. Roberts and Smith stole $3,400 from the store, several cartons of cigarettes and a purse belonging to one of the victims. On October 3, 2013, Roberts and Smith drove from Maryland to a gas station in Fredericksburg, Virginia. An employee let Roberts and Smith into the store and Roberts pointed a loaded gun at the victim. Roberts instructed the victim to go to a back room and lay on the ground, and demanded money. Roberts and Smith stole approximately $200, cartons of cigarettes and beer from the gas station.
In addition to the robberies with Smith, on October 2, 2013, Roberts robbed a store in Timonium, Maryland, with Richard Bruzdzinski. The owner of the establishment recognized Brudzinski, who had been a customer of the store a few weeks earlier. The owner opened the electronic door for Roberts and Bruzdzinski. Immediately, Roberts drew a handgun, pointed it at the owner, and stated that a robbery was occurring. Bruzdzinski drew a stun gun from his pocket. The two men directed the owner and an employee to go to the office in the back of the store, then ordered the victims to the ground. Roberts and Bruzdinski tied the hands of the victims with plastic zip ties. Roberts and Bruzdzinski stole money, gold jewelry, coins, the owner’s Glock pistol, and the victims’ cell phones.
Roberts and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea, Roberts will be sentenced to 228 months in prison. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for May 14, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. Roberts remains detained.
Rodney Smith, age 51, and Richard Bruzdzinski, age 43, both of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to their roles in the robberies. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on April 23, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. and Bruzdzinski is scheduled to be sentenced on March 26, 2015 at 1:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and thanked Cecil County State’s Attorney Ellis Rollins, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, and their offices for their assistance in the prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Lemmon and Bonnie S. Greenberg, who prosecuted the case.