Baltimore, Maryland – Kenneth Manns, age 47, of Baltimore, Maryland pleaded guilty today to bank burglary and his co-defendant, Aaron Davis, age 39, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty on May 13, 2014, to bank larceny, in connection with a two year scheme to burglarize banks, credit unions and retail stores.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office; Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger; and Chief Cathy L. Lanier of the Metropolitan Police Department.
According to their plea agreements, from May 2011 through May 2013, Manns and Davis participated in a conspiracy that involved a group of associates, including Donald Taylor and others, to obtain money and property from thirteen banks, credit unions and retail stores by breaking into and entering buildings used in whole or in part as banks and credit unions.
In order to avoid apprehension, the burglary crew would case the target location and assess the likelihood of obtaining valuables. One or more members of the conspiracy would stand look-out while others went inside the targeted bank or business. The burglary crew broke into gas stations, convenience stores, credit unions and other commercial establishments in Maryland and Washington D.C. wearing either white paper suits or dark outfits and masks and gloves, while communicating with handheld radios. The burglary crew would cut power lines, telephone lines, cables and other wires and destroy, reposition or disconnect surveillance video cameras. They stole cash, safes, cash-register drawers and lock boxes. On several occasions, the burglary crew gained entry to the ATM room of the target location by carving a hole with a power saw from an adjacent retail space. They also used tools to break into ATMs and safes at the target locations. The burglary crew transported the stolen goods back to locations to include the homes and businesses of the defendants in Maryland.
For example, on August 17, 2012, Manns and Davis put on white paper Tyvek suits, black masks and gloves, and got into the ATM room of a Bank of America in Washington, D.C. by carving a hole with a power saw from an adjacent retail space. The Metropolitan Police responded to alarms, causing Manns and his co-conspirator to flee before gaining access to cash drawer of the ATM machine.
On March 9, 2013, Manns and Davis broke into a Chinese restaurant adjacent to a credit union in Owings Mills, Maryland. They cut the communication network power cables to the credit union. Using industrial cutting tools, they removed a portion of the wall separating the banquet room of the restaurant from the ATM room inside the credit union. They entered the credit union, destroyed the motion sensor and then left the ATM room for approximately an hour in order to gauge whether there was a police response. They then re-entered the ATM room via the restaurant and shifted the direction of the security camera. They attempted unsuccessfully to cut through the ATM vault and gain access to the cash drawer.
On March 31, 2013, at approximately 9:45 p.m., Manns and Davis, wearing white masks and black gloves, broke into the Shoe City store in Parkville, Maryland by carving a hole with a power saw from an adjacent unoccupied retail space. Before entering, Manns and his co-conspirators also cut the telephone lines to the retail store which disabled the alarm system. Manns and his co-conspirators removed a safe containing $400 and stole 23 pairs of shoes.
On April 28, 2013, shortly before midnight, Manns and Davis broke a side glass window to the Edmondson Sunoco station in Catonsville, Maryland, entered the store and severed phone, cable and alarm power lines inside. Meanwhile, Taylor served as a lookout from inside a van rented by Manns and parked nearby. After going behind the cashier area, Davis and Manns left the Sunoco and drove away from the gas station in a stolen U-Haul Ford van. More than an hour later, they returned to the Sunoco, re-entered the gas station, attempted to gain entry into the manager’s office and then left the store again. At approximately 3:15 a.m., Manns and Davis returned to the Sunoco gas station a third time and stole $200 from the cash register drawer and removed 2 store safes containing $10,080, using a handcart, while Taylor again served as look-out. They loaded the safes into the stolen U-Haul van and drove away, while Taylor followed them in the rented van.
Donald Taylor, age 59, also of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme on April 3, 2014.
As part of their plea agreements, Manns, Davis and Taylor will be required to pay restitution in the full amount of the victims' losses, which is at least $250,000.
Manns and Davis each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for Davis on July 22, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. and for Manns on July 30, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. Judge Bennett also ordered that Manns be detained pending sentencing and he was taken into custody.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, Maryland State Police, Baltimore County Police Department, Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Metropolitan Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Crooks, who is prosecuting the case.