Baltimore, Maryland – Omar Hance, age 33, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to a series of commercial robberies. Darrell Blackwell, age 27, of Columbia, Maryland pleaded guilty on May 1, 2014, to being the get-away driver in two of the robberies.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
According to Hance’s plea agreement, between December 23, 2012 and February 7, 2013, Hance and a co-conspirator, Willie Vinson, robbed 14 convenience stores. In each robbery, Hance or Vinson used what appeared to be a black handgun, but was later determined to be a BB gun, to commit the robbery, taking money and store products by the use or threatened use of force against employees and customers of the store.
For example, on February 7, 2013, Darrell Blackwell drove Hance and Vinson to a 7-Eleven on West 33rd Street in Baltimore. Blackwell parked a short distance away and remained in the vehicle while Hance and Vinson, wearing masks, went into the store. Hance pointed what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun at the cashier and demanded money. The cashier turned over $200 in cash and $300 worth of cigarettes. Approximately five minutes later, after Blackwell had driven Hance and Vinson to the Royal Farms store on West 41st Street in Baltimore, they entered the store, while Blackwell again remained in the vehicle. Hance and Vinson announced the robbery and the customers left the store. Hance ordered the store employee to open the cash register, pulled out the black handgun and placed it on the counter, telling Vinson to take the gun. Hance then removed cartons of cigarettes, placing them in a large bag, while Vinson emptied the cash from the register. The two then left the store and sped away in the vehicle being driven by Blackwell.
Witnesses identified the vehicle, which was located by the police aviation unit. Other police units followed the vehicle and saw at least one item thrown from the vehicle. The vehicle eventually stopped at a garage at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and Blackwell, Hance and Vinson ran away. All three were caught a short time later. Hance and Vinson were wearing the same clothing and fit the physical description of the robbers seen in the surveillance video from the stores. The gun was recovered from the road along the route of the robbers and was determined to be a BB gun.
Vinson previously pleaded guilty to his role in the robberies in Baltimore County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Hance and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement he will be sentenced to 110 months in prison. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for Hance on September 2, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. and for Blackwell on August 26, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF, Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore County Police Department and the Baltimore City and Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Offices for their work in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Bonnie S. Greenberg and Scott A. Lemmon, who are prosecuting the case.