By DON AINES
6:17 PM EDT, April 30, 2013
One of two men charged in Monday’s armed robbery of the Washington County Teachers Federal Credit Union on Virginia Avenue robbed it three years earlier, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Circuit Court records.
Cruz Daniel Maldonado, 21, of 398 Bryan Place in Hagerstown, pleaded guilty in January 2011 to the April 19, 2010, robbery of the credit union, Washington County Circuit Court records show. Judge W. Kennedy Boone III, now retired, sentenced him to 15 years in prison, but suspended 10 years, court records say.
Maldonado was released from prison in November, according to Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
Also charged in Monday’s holdup was Joshua Andre Lockley, 28, of 424 N. Locust St. in Hagerstown, court records say. He is also a convicted felon, according to the charging document and court records.
During bond review hearings Tuesday, Washington County District Judge Mark D. Thomas ordered that Maldonado continue to be held without bond and maintained Lockley’s bond at $200,000.
Deputies went to the credit union at 16802 Virginia Ave. near Williamsport at about 2:30 p.m. for a report of an armed robbery, the statement of probable cause said. An employee told them a man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt entered the business armed with a small handgun, demanded cash and fled with $6,675, the document said.
The employee said the man’s face was partially covered with a black bandana and surveillance video showed that the man got out of a light-colored passenger car that drove off as he entered the credit union, the charging document said.
Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst was at the intersection of Donelson Drive and Hampton Road when he saw a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and bandana and carrying a white bag, the charging document said. Ernst told deputies the man signaled to the driver of a light-colored car, the document said.
The man ran north on Tammany Manor Road, while the car turned north on Hampton Road, the charging document said.
Ten minutes after the holdup, a Maryland State Police trooper saw a gold Mitsubishi Galant on Oak Ridge Drive at Halfway Boulevard and followed it to the Premium Outlets, the charging document said. When he tried to pull the car over, it accelerated and crashed into the rear wall of a vacant store, the document said.
A witness saw two men run from the car, the charging document said. The witness told police the driver wore a black-hooded sweatshirt and the passenger a light-hooded sweatshirt and that he saw the driver reach into his waistband and pull out what appeared to be a gun, the document said.
More deputies and troopers descended on the outlets and the driver, identified as Maldonado, was found hiding in a dressing room of the Eddie Bauer store, although no handgun was found, the charging document said.
Lockley was apprehended as he walked near the Timberland store, the charging document said. Police found a loaded .22-caliber handgun with the hammer cocked and a round in the chamber, along with a black bandana and a white plastic bag containing $6,675, the document said.
It was the second incident that ended with criminal arrests at Premium Outlets on Monday. The other involved three men accused of passing counterfeit currency.
Maldonado and Lockley were both charged with armed robbery, robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and robbery, theft from $1,000 to $10,000, first- and second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit first-and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, use of a handgun during a crime of violence, possession of a handgun by a felon and other firearms offenses, court records said.
Lockley previously was convicted in 2004 of distribution of cocaine and in 2008 with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, police and court records said.
In 2010 Maldonado was charged with the credit union robbery and with an attempted robbery of the credit union a week later, published reports said. In the first holdup, a masked man made off with $5,507, according to the application for statement of charges in that case. A week later two masked men tried to enter the credit union shortly after 5 p.m., but fled when they discovered the doors had just been locked, according to the charging document in that case.
In May 2010, Maldonado’s brother, Luis, was indicted by a federal grand jury on a charge of robbing the same credit union in May 2009, a published report said. Three other men were indicted along with Luis Maldonado for a series of pharmacy and financial institution robberies, published reports said.
“Quite frankly, I think you’re getting a sweet deal, but I went along with it,” Judge Boone told Cruz Maldonado when he sentenced him in 2011.
“I don’t know what made me act like this,” Maldonado told Boone at the sentencing. “I was raised in a good family.”
Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher McCormack, who was involved in the 2011 plea agreement, said Wednesday that victims were unable to identify Maldonado and the case against him was based largely on the word of informants. In addition, Maldonado had no serious criminal record and there was no weapon used or threats made in that robbery.
Maldonado received a sentence above the guidelines, which were probation to two years, McCormack said.
“Mr. Maldonado served a little over two and a half years of his sentence before being paroled. By law, he was eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence. He was paroled in mid-November 2012,” Vernarelli said in an e-mail Tuesday.
“He was infraction-free in prison, had learned a trade, and had been compliant in his community supervision after leaving prison,” Vernarelli said.
“The Maryland Parole Commission takes exhaustive measures to screen every parole-eligible inmate carefully, using specific and validated risk assessment tools,” Vernarelli said. “Mr. Maldonado appeared to be a good candidate for parole based upon his record in prison and everything the Commission knew about him.”
Lockley also had been released in November, Vernarelli said.