Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander today sentenced Javaughn Berry, age 26, of Baltimore, Maryland, to 115 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for three armed commercial robberies.
The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Baltimore Field Office; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Chief Amal E. Awad of the Anne Arundel County Police Department.
According to his guilty plea, from October 2019 to December 2019, Berry and a co-conspirator committed three armed commercial robberies—one each in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, and Baltimore County. In each robbery, the robbers brandished a firearm and stole a victim’s vehicle to flee the scene. Investigators with the FBI obtained cell phone records which revealed that Berry and his co-conspirator’s phones were in close proximity to each of the victim businesses around the time of the robberies.
As detailed in Berry’s plea agreement, on October 13, 2019, Berry and a co-conspirator robbed a Baltimore pharmacy. After the robbery, Baltimore Police Department officers responded to the scene and spoke to a victim who reported that the two male suspects wore black masks, black gloves, glasses, and yellow reflective vests. Prior to the robbery, both men were picking up trash in the parking lot. When the pharmacy opened at 8:00 a.m., the suspects entered. One suspect pointed a black revolver at a victim employee and demanded access to the safe. The suspects took $1,630 in cash from the safe and tied the victim’s hands with zip ties. They took also took the victim’s keys and fled in the victim’s vehicle.
Berry and his co-conspirator also robbed a retail store in Millersville, Maryland, on November 17, 2019. Victims reported to Anne Arundel County Police officers that two men entered the store as it was closing and demanded money. Both suspects wore masks and had black handguns. The suspects stole $3,200 in cash and zip-tied the employees. One of the suspects struck a victim on the head and pulled her to the ground. The victim sustained a cut to her right ear and was treated by medics on scene. As in the pharmacy robbery, Berry and his co-conspirator fled the scene by stealing an employee’s vehicle.
Finally, Berry admitted that on December 13, 2019, he and his co-conspirator robbed a Parkville, Maryland chain restaurant. On the morning of December 13, 2019, Baltimore County Police Department (“BCPD”) detectives responded to the restaurant and found the shift manager and his co-worker inside. According to the victim employees, around 7:00 a.m., the shift manager and co-worker unlocked the front doors and two male suspects entered the store wearing dark, hooded sweatshirts and masks. Berry’s co-conspirator approached the shift manager, pulled out a revolver, and demanded that he open the safe. Berry’s co-conspirator stole $3,393.37 in cash, then put the shift manager’s wrists and ankles in zip ties. Berry approached the co-worker and put zip ties on his wrists and ankles. As in the previous robberies, Berry and the co-conspirator stole the shift manger’s vehicle and fled the scene, leaving behind the stolen vehicle from the November retail robbery.
On December 14, 2019, a BCPD officer found the vehicle stolen during the restaurant robbery parked a few blocks away from Berry’s residence. BCPD officers placed a GPS device on the vehicle to track its movements. FBI investigators had also gotten a warrant to track the co-conspirator’s phone in real time.
Berry and the co-conspirator were arrested on December 16, 2019, after BCPD tracked the stolen vehicle to the intersection of Joppa Road and Harford Road in Carney, Maryland. The co-conspirator was driving behind the stolen vehicle and was stopped by officers and arrested. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the car and found a black replica handgun, several black gloves, black zip ties, and a yellow reflective vest.
Investigators continued following the stolen vehicle, which was being driving by Berry. Berry abandoned the car and fled on foot. Investigators found Berry walking along Harford Road soon afterward. It was dark, cold, and snowing, yet Berry was wearing very little clothing. Given the hour and the weather, Berry was the only person walking in the area. He showed investigators the call log on his phone, which revealed several recent completed and missed calls to the co-conspirator’s number, After waiving his Miranda rights, Berry told officers that he saw the stolen car earlier that morning and wanted to take it for a joy ride.
Berry’s phone was seized. A search warrant executed on the device recovered photos of Berry holding large amounts of cash that were taken on the morning of the first robbery. A search warrant executed on the co-conspirator’s phone recovered a picture of a vehicle similar to the vehicle stolen from the employee in the second robbery. Metadata revealed that the picture first appeared on the co-conspirator’s phone after the robbery.
Berry admitted that he committed the December 13, 2019 robbery of the victim restaurant. Berry also agreed that he took money from the victims, against the victims’ wills, by using actual or threatened force, violence, or fear of injury.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the FBI, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Baltimore City Police Department, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon K. Moore, who is prosecuting the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
# # #
United States v. Dennis Jali, et al.
Talk to your kids about gangs and how to avoid them.