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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

D.C. Felon Sentenced To More Than 13 Years In Federal Prison For Three Armed Robberies Of Businesses

Held Employees at Gunpoint in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties

Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel today sentenced Leroy Percell Burrell, age 32, of Washington, D.C., to 162 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for three armed robberies in which Burrell brandished a firearm.  Judge Hazel also entered an order requiring Burrell to pay restitution of $2,680.

The sentence 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 Chief Henry P. Stawinski III of the Prince George’s County Police Department

“We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to get guns out of the hands of criminals and off of our streets, in order to reduce violent crime in our neighborhoods.” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.  “If you use a gun, you could face federal time, where there is no parole—ever.  Please, put down the guns and save a life—maybe even your own.”

According to his guilty plea, between July 30 and November 3, 2017, Burrell committed three armed robberies of businesses, brandishing a firearm in each of the robberies.  All of the robberies were captured on video surveillance.  Specifically, on July 30, 2017, Burrell robbed Business 1 in Greenbelt, Maryland.  Burrell entered through the front door of the store, locked the door behind him, and then confronted an employee behind the counter.  The employee opened the cash register but did not remove any cash.  Burrell forced the employee to the back of the store, displayed a handgun to the employee, and threatened to shoot if the employee did not give Burrell all the money.  In the rear room, where there was no video, Burrell forced the employee to open and give him money from the safe.  Returning to the main store, the employee emptied the cash register and gave the money to Burrell, who left through the rear door.  Burrell stole a total of $700 from the store and $80 from the employee.

On August 10, 2017, Burrell and another man robbed Business 2 in Anne Arundel County.  Burrell entered the business and immediately brandished a gun, pointing it at the head of an employee, who handed Burrell the cash from the register.  Burrell then forcefully pushed the employee toward the back of the store, still at gunpoint.  Burrell's accomplice followed him into the store, pulled down a ski mask, and locked the front door.  The accomplice also headed to the back of the store, confronting a second employee who was in the office.  Burrell and his accomplice then fled out the front door.  The robbery took approximately one minute, and Burrell and his accomplice stole an undetermined amount of money. 

On November 3, 2017, Burrell again robbed Business 1 in Greenbelt.  At the time of the robbery, two employees were working.  Video surveillance of the store captured Burrell locking the front door and removing a pistol from his pocket.  Burrell pulled back the slide of the pistol, ejecting a single round of ammunition from the firearm, then brandished the pistol, waving it and pointing it at the employees.  While one employee was held at gunpoint, the other emptied the cash register and handed cash to Burrell, who took the money and put it in his pocket.  Burrell gave handcuffs that were wrapped in a bright blue hand washcloth to the employee he was holding at gunpoint.  The employee took out the handcuffs, dropped the towel, and placed the handcuffs on himself.  Burrell motioned the two employees to the back room of the store where Burrell ordered one of the employees to open the safe, threatening the victim’s life, but the employee did not know the combination to the safe.  Burrell again left through the rear door of the store, stealing approximately $1,900. The towel and handcuffs were left at the scene and recovered as evidence. 

On November 9, 2017, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Burrell’s residence in Washington, D.C.  Officers encountered Burrell in the foyer of the apartment building and arrested him.  Law enforcement officers recovered a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol from Burrell.  From Burrell’s apartment law enforcement recovered a black jacket matching the jacket seen in the video of the August and November robberies; two blue washcloths matching the distinctive color and brand of the washcloth recovered from the scene at the November robbery; two pairs of handcuffs; a pair of distinctive red and black high-top shoes matching those seen on the video of the July and August robberies; a red jacket matching the one seen in video footage of the July robbery; and various ammunition rounds.  Burrell had previously been convicted of a felony and was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.

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 Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked the Metropolitan Police Department for its assistance.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph R. Baldwin, who prosecuted the case.

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Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated August 13, 2019