Baltimore, Maryland - After a five day bench trial, U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr., convicted Pedro Rodriguez Garcia, age 34, formerly of Rosedale, Maryland, late yesterday of conspiring to commit an armed commercial robbery on July 29, 2009, armed robbery and brandishing a gun during a crime of violence.
The verdict 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; Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore City Police Department; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger; Special Agent in Charge Niall Meehan of the Washington Field Office of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service; and Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.
“Superb law enforcement coordination brought the defendant to justice for the armed robbery that resulted in the tragic death of Constantine Frank,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
“The worldwide presence and investigative capabilities of the Diplomatic Security Service enables us to work with our law enforcement partners domestically and around the world to bring criminals to justice,” said Niall Meehan, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Diplomatic Security Service.
According to evidence presented at the trial, Garcia participated in a robbery planned by Nikolaos Mamalis. Mamalis recruited Garcia, Daniel Chase and others to rob Constantine Frank, the owner of Precision Vending located on S. Lakewood Avenue in Baltimore. Mamalis knew the owner socially and from prior business dealings, and he was familiar with the physical layout and security at Precision Vending from previous visits with Mr. Frank. On July 29, 2009, after Mamalis advised his co-conspirators that Mr. Frank was alone inside, Garcia and Chase entered the business disguised as package delivery men. Chase took out a gun from a false package they had brought inside, brandished the weapon and then gave it to Garcia who used the gun to hold Mr. Frank captive. The two robbers also used zip-ties and duct tape to restrain the victim while Chase searched the business for cash, stealing over $11,000. Knowing that Mr. Frank would recognize him, Mamalis waited outside the building and received periodic reports from Chase using prepaid wireless phones which Mamalis and a co-conspirator had previously purchased.
The robbers left Mr. Frank bound, knowing that he was sweating profusely and in obvious discomfort. Shortly after leaving, Chase called one of Mr. Frank’s other businesses and said: “Your boss is in his office, and he is not doing so good.” Mr. Frank had suffered a stroke by the time officers found him conscious, but still in physical restraints and unable to speak. Mr. Frank was listed in critical condition when he arrived at the hospital and died less than two weeks later on August 11, 2009. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was an intra-cerebral hemorrhage associated with stress resulting from the robbery and ruled the death a homicide.
After Mr. Frank’s death, Garcia fled the country and was captured by agents from the U.S. Border Patrol two years later.
Garcia was convicted of conspiracy, commercial robbery, and a corresponding firearms charge, and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 57 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. Judge Quarles has scheduled sentencing for June 18, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.
Nikolaos Mamalis, age 56, of Edgewood, Maryland, was sentenced to 77 years in prison, for conspiracy, three counts of commercial robbery and three corresponding firearms charges in connection with the Precision Vending robbery and two home invasion robberies in Maryland. Mamalis was convicted by a federal jury on February 3, 2011. Daniel Chase, age 67, of Browns Mill, New Jersey; pleaded guilty to his participation in a series of robberies planned by Mamalis and was sentenced to 141 months in prison.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked: the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore City Police Department; Baltimore County Police Department; New Jersey State Police; the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office; Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office; and U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Debra L. Dwyer and Special Assistant United States Attorney Gerald A. A. Collins, a cross designated Maryland Assistant Attorney General assigned to Exile cases, who are prosecuting the case.