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‘Keyboard Crimefighters’ Help Police Crack Baltimore Co. Robberies

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Crime on camera. WJZ first showed you the frightening surveillance video of a violent group of robbers. Police say they are responsible for more than a dozen crimes.

Now we’re finding out how police in Baltimore County used technology to stop the armed men.

Mike Hellgren reports on “keyboard crimefighters.”

Catching those men has been a priority of the department, saying they could be connected to as many as 14 armed robberies and several attacks on college students. Police used a special unit, focusing on crime mapping using computer programs, to help target their resources.

Security camera footage shows the frightening armed robbery at a 7-Eleven in Towson. Police believe this was far from the first attack these men planned.

WJZ tracked the robberies on a map. The group hit a Dunkin’ Donuts in Milford Mill on Nov. 2, a Dollar Tree on Nov. 5, another Dollar Tree on Nov. 9 before hitting the 7-Eleven this week.

In addition to the video, images from Michael Dunn’s business will likely be used in the prosecution.

“I feel like they didn’t know they were being recorded,” said Dunn. “We have you guys walking and everything. Smile, you’re on camera!”

Hellgren: “You’ve got to feel lucky you didn’t have a knife put to your throat or your back.”

Dunn: “Or even a gun. They get crazy like that, too.”

Police say the robberies went down virtually the same way every time. At a Dollar Tree, the robbers put a knife to the side of the clerk and told her to give them the money. They walked out with $590.

“I had great confidence that this police department knew how to handle this situation,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Related Link: Charging Documents

WJZ has learned work to crack the cases involved what police call “keyboard crimefighters” — members of the county’s crime analysis unit, who meticulously mapped every robbery.

“They would look at times of day, locations and try to identify patterns,” said Elise Armacost, Baltimore County Police.

It led to officers being deployed in the right place at the right time.

“We were able to catch these people in the act,” said Armacost.

Bringing some calm to an area that’s been on edge for weeks.

According to charging documents, one of the men confessed to robbing the 7-Eleven because he said he was hungry.

Right now, the men are being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on bails ranging from $250,000 to $350,000.

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