After gathering information this spring on a series of armed robberies clustered around a few blocks in Southwest Baltimore, police say Det. George Cannida had a hunch where the suspects might strike next.
His intuition apparently paid off: after watching a male rob two men at gunpoint in the 2200 block of W. Mulberry St., Cannida notified patrol officers who chased the suspect to the rear of his home.
Police say the suspect, 16-year-old Corey McClary, confessed to the robbery and at least nine others, according to court records. He was charged April 9 and is scheduled to appear in court next month for a motions hearing. A second suspect, Raven Anderson, who just turned 19, has also been charged.
The cases highlight the continued threat of gun violence in a city where shootings have been on a significant decline, but robberies remain pervasive.
More than 3,400 people were robbed in Baltimore last year, an increase from 2010 though down considerably from a high of 12,000 robberies in 1993. About 380 people were shot last year.
Robberies are more likely to be random and involve innocent victims, rather than the city's shootings and murders that investigators say are largely driven by drug disputes or other feuds. A portion of the shootings also stem from robberies gone wrong, however.
Police say robbery suspects also tend just not to strike just once, meaning a single arrest can close a slate of cases.
Take McClary, for example, who police say admitted to 10 robberies after being arrested. According to Col. Jesse Oden, the chief of detectives for the Baltimore Police Department, detectives believed they knew where he would strike next and were there to catch him in the act.
The following accounts come from police charging documents:
-Feb. 10, at 4:15 a.m. 50-year-old Adrian Myles walked out of a bar in the unit block of N. Warwick Ave. and was approached from behind by two males. The first suspect pointed a handgun at his chest and says, "Don't make any noise, just give me everything you've got." They took $30 and fled, records show.
-March 7, just before 8 p.m.: Rolland Ligon, a deliver driver for a pizza store, said he was sent to make a delivery in the 100 block of N. Bentalou Ave. When he pulled up, a male met him at his vehicle and displayed a handgun. "Give me everything - your money, your keys and your food," the suspect said. Ligon complied, but was struck in the head by the handgun and was ordered into an alley. His wallet, $70, and the food order were taken.
-March 19, 7:20 p.m.: Eric Sullivan, 43, was walking in the 100 block of N. Warwick Ave. when he noticed two men huddled in an alley. He walked by them but later turned to see the gun pointed at his head by a man wearing a mask. He grabbed the suspect's hand, leading to a struggle. A second suspect tackled him and said, "Get off the gun before I shoot you." The suspects rummaged through his pockets, before hitting him over the head and in the face with the gun. They took his ID, cell phone and bus pass.
-March 26, 8:20 p.m.: Ogubara Kouriba, a pizza delivery driver, called police and reported he was delivering food to the 2400 block of W. Lexington St. when he was summoned to the porch by the suspects, who explained that they didn't have shoes on and would prefer that he come to them. As he walked up, the shoeless suspect stood and displayed a handgun. They took $200 and fled on foot. Records show Sullivan's cell phone was used to place the food order.
-March 29, 9:40 p.m.: Tamel Martin told police he was standing in a bus stop in the 2200 block of W. Baltimore St. when two males approached, one with a bandana over his face. "What time does the bus come?" one of them asked. Martin replied, "It should be on its way." One of the suspects then pulled a handgun, grabbed the victim by the shirt, and asked for "everything you've got." He gave up a cell phone, wallet, and other items, then was ordered to walk southbound. Martin's phone was later recovered after a woman told police she had bought it for $20 from a 16-year-old, who she identified through a photo lineup as McClary.
-April 2, 1:30 p.m.: William Walker Jr., 56, said he was walking to a bus stop in the 2100 block of W. Franklin St. when he was confronted by a male who displayed a gun and demanded money. Walker refused to hand over his wallet, and was grabbed by his sweater. "Don't try anything crazy, or I'll shoot you in the face." Walker then opened his wallet and handed over $11, and the suspect fled. The suspect was described as being in his late 20s or 30s, but police believe McClary is responsible.
-April 3, 2:00 p.m.: Kenneth Davis said he was walking southbound on N. Smallwood St. when a suspect wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt who ordered him into an alley. "Look, I don't want to hurt you," the suspect said while poking the gun into the victim's ribs. The suspect took $45 in cash, then struck the victim in the head and fled.
-Later that day, at about 10:30, Kenneth Lewis, 47, said he was walking southbound in the 100 block of N. Warwick St. when two males approached him and told him to "Kick it out." When Lewis said he didn't have anything of value, he was struck in the mouth, breaking one of his teeth.
-April 7, 12:30 p.m.: Charles Blake said he was in the 2200 block of W. Saratoga St. when he was knocked to the ground from behind and kicked repeatedly by two males with handguns. Blake handed over his wallet and cell phone, and the suspects fled.
-April 9, 12:30 a.m.: Vivian Carides, 47, was sitting at a bus stop in the 2000 block of W. Baltimore St. when two males told her to hand over "everything you've got." Both pulled out handguns and began rifling through her property.
McClary has been charged as an adult, but his attorney have asked that his case be waived to juvenile court. A judge will hear arguments Aug. 13.