Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Baltimore Armed Career Criminal Exiled to 15 Years in Prison for Illegal Possession of a Gun

Used the Gun in Connection with an Armed Robbery

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced John Steven Thomas, age 41, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to 15 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a gun. Judge Blake found that Thomas is an armed career criminal based on two previous drug convictions and convictions for robbery and assault.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Marino F. Vidoli of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – Baltimore Field Division; and Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III of the Baltimore Police Department.

According to Thomas’ plea agreement, on May 12, 2011, two women waved down police detectives working in the 1400 block of N. Luzerne Avenue in Baltimore, advising the officers that they had been robbed and pointing out a man nearby, who was wearing blue pants and a red tee shirt, as the man who robbed them. The man, later identified as Thomas, ran away carrying a large blackpurse in his left hand and a dark colored handgun in his right hand. The detectives gave chase in their vehicle and on foot. During the chase Thomas dropped a wallet belonging to one of the women, then dropped the purse in the 1300 block of N. Lakewood Avenue and the gun in the frontyard of a home in that same block. Law enforcement recovered the gun, a 9mm semi-automatic pistol.

One of the detectives was assisting in a canvas of the area in a search for Thomas, when he was approached by a man, who told the detective that a man wearing a red t-shirt and blue pants entered the back door of his residence, ran through the house while taking off the red t-shirt, dropped the red shirt on his inside stairway, and then ran of the front door of the residence wearing a white tshirt. The detective relayed the update via police radio. Another detective was driving near a playground in the 2800 block of E. Hoffman Street, when he saw Thomas, wearing a white t-shirt and blue pants, push a child off of a bicycle and ride the bicycle east in the 2800 block of E. Hoffman Street a short distance before being apprehended.

One of the female victims identified Thomas as the man who robbed her. The victim advised the detectives that she and several other people were sitting on the front steps of a home in the 1300 block of N. Luzerne Avenue, when Thomas approached the group and asked them if anyone needed their car washed. When the victims told Thomas that they did not own a car, Thomas reached into his right hip waistband area and retrieved a dark colored semi-automatic pistol, pointed the gun at those seated there and stated, “Give me everything you got.” The victim stated that Thomas grabbed her purse from the front steps, entered the residence, quickly looking around, and then fled on foot before the female victims approached the detectives to report the crime.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF and Baltimore Police Department for their work in this investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Michael C. Hanlon, who prosecuted the case.

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