Three Men Convicted After a 10-Day Trial of Federal Charges Related to a Series of Home Burglaries
Broke Into at Least 20 Residences in Baltimore County and Georgia to Steal at Least $850,000 Worth of Property Which the Defendants Transported and Stored in Hotel Rooms
Baltimore, Maryland – A federal jury today convicted three men for conspiracy, and for transportation of stolen property, taken during a series of burglaries committed in Maryland and Georgia. The jury returned the guilty verdicts for the following defendants late yesterday after three hours of deliberation:
Demar A. Brown, age 37, of Paterson, New Jersey and Winston-Salem, North Carolina;
Jashon C. Fields, age 37, of Atlanta, Georgia; and
Kamar O. Beckles, age 35, of Teaneck, New Jersey.
The convictions were announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department.
According to the evidence presented at the 10-day trial, from November 29, 2017 through January 26, 2018, the defendants committed a series of break-ins at residences in Baltimore County, Maryland and Milton, Georgia, in order to steal property, including: cash; foreign currency; safes; jewelry; designer purses, bags, and clothing; personal electronics; collectibles; personal identity documents; and items of sentimental value, such as historical medals, rare coins, and other memorabilia. The defendants intended to sell the stolen property out-of-state for cash.
Witnesses testified that the defendants wore masks and gloves during the break-ins and communicated with each other using two-way radios and mobile phones. One of the conspirators often remained in the getaway car while the other conspirators committed the burglaries. Brown, Fields, and Beckles rented hotel rooms in Maryland where they would store the proceeds of the burglaries they committed (until the property and proceeds were transported out of state). Brown and Beckles transported the stolen property outside Maryland, including to two residences to which Brown had access in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
As detailed during the trial, on January 26, 2018, the defendants were arrested not far from two residences that had recently been burglarized. Brown was arrested after officers responding to the burglary noticed a dark green Ford Explorer with North Carolina tags traveling slowly down the street. The vehicle was identical to a suspect vehicle seen in surveillance footage from some of the earlier burglaries. An officer pulled in behind the vehicle and, after a short vehicle chase, Brown was eventually arrested after trying to flee from the SUV.
Beckles and Fields were arrested in a nearby wooded area, about a half mile from one of the burglarized homes. At the time of his arrest, Beckles was wearing a distinct jacket with a reflective emblem on the back – identical in appearance to the insignia visible in surveillance footage from some of the earlier burglaries. Additional responding officers were able to view through the vehicle’s windows a safe matching the description of a safe stolen during the robbery, along with what appeared to be bags of other property stolen that evening and over $2500 in loose change – later determined to have been stolen from a home in Milton, Georgia.
A search of each defendant turned up hotel key cards, and one of the defendants was carrying over $1,000 cash in his sock. Brown also had a breakfast ticket from the hotel matching the key card, where law enforcement learned Beckles had rented two rooms in his name.
A search warrant for the rented rooms was obtained and executed, and a second search of one of the rooms occurred a couple of days later. During the searches of the rooms, law enforcement recovered jewelry stolen from a residence on January 25, 2018, property from homes burglarized in Milton, Georgia on January 24th, as well as property from homes burglarized in Baltimore County on December 28, 2017, December 29, 2017, January 9, 2018, and January 10, 2018. They also recovered a mask, a pair of gloves, a diamond tester, a scale, and a gold testing kit. In the second room, they located, among other things, Fields’ license, mail in the name of Beckles, and various phones.
On January 27, 2018, after obtaining a search warrant, law enforcement searched the Ford Explorer driven by Brown the previous day. They discovered, among other things, various tools and clothing for use in connection with burglaries, including a pry bar, a drill and hole saw, a mallet, three chisels, a reciprocating saw, multiple pairs of gloves, black knit hats, a balaclava style mask, two-way radios, and flashlights.
Law enforcement officers searching the vehicle also discovered many of the pieces of property stolen during two burglaries the previous day, as well as notes concerning a pawn shop and a jewelry shop in North Carolina.
On January 30, 2018, law enforcement obtained search and seizure warrants for Brown’s residences in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. There they located property from three earlier burglaries in Baltimore County—including numerous pieces of fine jewelry. Additionally, evidence on the nine phones seized from the defendants, the SUV, and the defendants’ hotel rooms showed, among other things, Brown and Beckles photographing many pieces of the jewelry and other items taken during some of the burglaries.
In total, 21 homes were burglarized in connection with the conspiracy, and the victims reported that $850,000 worth of property was stolen. Only some of that stolen property has been recovered and returned to its owners; for a few victims, the vast majority of their property has yet to be recovered.
The defendants each face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for the conspiracy; and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for each count of interstate transportation of stolen property or attempted interstate transportation of stolen property. U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel will schedule sentencings at a later date.
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.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the FBI and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul A. Riley and Christopher M. Rigali, who are prosecuting the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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