Carjacking crew beat, robbed more than 50 people in crime spree targeting Latinos, Balitmore officials say
By TIM PRUDENTE | The Baltimore Sun | Published: September 12, 2020
BALTIMORE (Tribune News Service) — The crime spree started Christmas Eve, when the crew broke into a woman's East Baltimore rowhome, threatened her with a knife, then made off with her Nissan Sentra.
The next day, they struck about 2 miles farther east, breaking into another woman's home, slapping her and spraying corn oil in her face, according to charging documents. They allegedly threw a claw hammer at someone else there. They robbed two more people to end Christmas Day with a Honda Accord, a Honda Civic and a Toyota RAV4.
So began a four-month crime spree in which a Baltimore carjacking crew beat and robbed more than 50 people, at times preying on Latino families whom they believed carried cash and would be afraid to call police, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors with the Maryland Attorney General's Office detailed these crimes in an indictment last week that alleges 75 acts of home invasions, armed robberies, carjackings and thefts.
The prosecutors accuse 17-year-old Tommy A'Shante Graham, of Northwest Baltimore, of being a member in the crew. They charged him as an adult with 63 counts including attempted murder, assault, robbery and gun charges. He remains held without bail.
"I'm still investigating the case and waiting to find out what evidence the attorney general has regarding Tommy," said John Markus, his defense attorney.
A detective wrote in a police report that Graham admitted to serving only as lookout for the crew.
In the indictment, prosecutors identify one other young man, 18-year-old Daquan Hart, of East Baltimore, as being a member of the crew. Hart has two criminal cases pending in state court, but he hasn't been indicted by Attorney General Brian Frosh's office, according to online court records.
His attorney, Roland Harris, said he's been told the teen will be indicted. Harris declined to comment further.
Graham's indictment names no others, but says the crew includes additional members both known and unknown to law enforcement. Between December and April, they made off with more than two dozen cars, which they would ditch, as well as cash, cellphones, credit cards, video game systems and laptops, prosecutors wrote. Once, the members allegedly stole a man's work visa.
The crew wore masks and dark clothing, and targeted people while they parked or walked to their cars at night. Many of these robberies and carjackings happened in Latino neighborhoods of Southwest and Southeast Baltimore.
According to prosecutors, the crew was organized with lookouts and getaway drivers, as well as people responsible for ditching the cars and stashing the valuables. Members allegedly held their victims at gunpoint and forced them to disable location trackers on their cellphones. They also took photos of themselves posing with the stolen cash and guns, then posted the pictures to social media sites.
When one victim tried to fight back, they allegedly shot the person in the leg.
Prosecutors wrote that the crew would pistol-whip their victims. They allegedly held a machete to the throat of one woman. Another time, they shot out a rear windshield as a driver fled.
During a robbery at the edge of the city near Catonsville, they allegedly blasted a man in the face with a fire extinguisher. And before leaving another house, they wrote an obsenity on the kitchen wall.
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