Crime, Police/Fire

Man who robbed more than 35 Maryland businesses sentenced to 14 years in prison

BALTIMORE, MD—A judge this week sentenced a Baltimore man to more than ten years in prison for a string of commercial robberies throughout Maryland.

Darnell Gerald Gaither Jr., 27, has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for committing 35 commercial robberies and for brandishing a firearm during some of those robberies.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; 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, and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore City Police Department.

According to his guilty plea, from December 2018 to November 24, 2019, Gaither committed at least 35 commercial robberies throughout the state. Gaither robbed fast-food restaurants, general stores, cell phone stores, gaming stores, a gym, and chain pharmacies—and robbed a number of the stores more than once. In at least one robbery, Gaither brandished a firearm and in least five occasions, he robbed the stores while partially revealing a handgun. In all the other robberies, Gaither passed a note to an employee stating that he had a gun. The employees, fearing for their safety, often provided Gaither with cash from their registers, in amounts ranging from a couple hundred dollars to $1,900.

On October 25, 2019, Gaither robbed a Baltimore smoothie franchise by entering the store and handing the cashier a note that read “I have a gun give me all the cash”. When the cashier refused to open the register, Gaither produced a handgun. The victim reported that Gaither told the victim that he would kill her if she did not open the register. The cashier opened the register and Gaither ordered the cashier and two other employees to the floor while he removed the cash from the register. Gaither then ordered the three employees to open the safe in a back area and hand him additional cash. Gaither took cash from the franchise and fled the store.

Five days later, on October 30, 2019, Gaither robbed a Baltimore general store by posing as a customer. After approaching the register with a bag of candy, Gaither handed the cashier a note that stated, “You know what it is”, while displaying what appeared to be a handgun inside his waistband. The cashier believed that Gaither possessed a real firearm and feared for her safety. The cashier handed $197 to Gaither, who then fled the store.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI, the Baltimore County Police Department and the Baltimore City Police Department for their work in the investigation. Barron also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow, who prosecuted the case.

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