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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 22, 2014

Career Offender Pleads Guilty To Robbing Queenstown Diamond Store



Baltimore, Maryland – Roy Lee Tolbert, age 43, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty on September 18, 2014, to the armed robbery of a diamond store in Queenstown, Maryland.

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; Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; and Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Lance G. Richardson.

According to the facts agreed to at the plea hearing, on May 19, 2013, Roy Lee Tolbert, entered a diamond store in Queenstown wearing a ball cap, wig, fake beard, sunglasses, an oversized suit jacket, jeans, and dark colored shoes. Tolbert went to the back of the store, removed a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at one or more employees of the store, demanding the diamonds that were in the display case. An employee complied with his demands and Tolbert stole approximately 59 engagement-style diamond rings worth an estimated $362,000, placing them into a gray backpack that he was wearing over his stomach.

The robbery was witnessed by an off-duty Maryland State Police sergeant, who provided Tolbert’s description to a 9-1-1 operator, then followed Tolbert as he left the store. The State Police sergeant saw Tolbert run behind a building to a waiting motorcycle. Tolbert removed his disguise and placed it into the backpack, then put on a black and neon motorcycle helmet and a black and neon motorcycle jacket. The State Police sergeant continued to follow Tolbert and saw him flee onto a section of Nesbit Road in Grasonville, Maryland, that is a dead-end street. The State Police Sergeant blocked the road until uniformed troopers arrived on the scene. They located Tolbert running through a nearby open field. Tolbert was able to reach the wood line in the area and escape capture. Found hidden on the property of a nearby residence was the motorcycle, the motorcycle helmet and jacket, and the disguise worn by Tolbert in the robbery.

Tolbert’s DNA was recovered from the fake beard and helmet. The owner of the motorcycle, which had been reported stolen in 2010, was Tolbert’s girlfriend. In July 2013, she had filed a request for a protection order, in which she mentioned that Tolbert had a gun, and further described him in a confrontation “pacing the lot with something silver in his hand”. This matches the description of the weapon used during the robbery, which was a semi-automatic handgun with a silver slide.

Tolbert told another person that he committed the robbery, and showed this individual the diamonds. Tolbert also offered to sell diamonds to a co-worker.

Tolbert faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the commercial robbery; and a mandatory minimum of seven years, consecutive to any other sentence, and up to life in prison for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake scheduled sentencing for December 17, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, Maryland State Police and Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who is prosecuting the case.

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Updated January 26, 2015