Craigslist Robber Busted by Undercover Police in Elementary School Parking Lot
Police took a young man into custody Monday night after he attempted to rob an undercover police officer in the parking lot of George Cromwell Elementary School in Glen Burnie. Prior to the meeting, a number of victims had reported to police that they were robbed when they answered a Craigslist advertisement, according to a media release from Anne Arundel County Police Department spokesman Justin Mulcahy.
Mulcahy said that victims would answer a Craigslist advertisement about an iPhone 5 and agree to meet in the school parking lot, located at 525 Welham Avenue in Glen Burnie. At the appointed meeting place and time, the suspect would pull what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun and rob the victim of “currency and cell phones.”
In a case on Saturday, Mulcahy said that, “the suspect suspect discharged what was found to be a pellet from a pellet gun, missing the victim and striking his vehicle’s rearview mirror.”
Mulcahy said that in another recent incident on July 29, a 30-year-old man reported being a victim in a similar scenario. That time, the victim went to George Cromwell Elementary School to buy an iPhone from the same online ad when the suspect showed a gun, took the victim’s money and phone and fled on foot, Mulcahy said.
So on Monday around 6 p.m., an undercover detective posed as a buyer and responded to the same Craigslist post. The suspect agreed to meet and suggested George Cromwell Elementary as a meeting point. When the detective arrived, the suspect pulled what appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun from the waistband of his pants. Additional detectives responded and the suspect, identified as Jacob Patrick Valentine, 17, attempted to flee on foot, still holding his weapon.
It didn’t take long for him to be caught and arrested while still on school property. The aviation unit and K-9 patrol assisted. The gun turned out to be a pellet gun fashioned as a “convincing replica of a semi-automatic firearm.”
Mulcahy said that further investigation found that six additional appointments were set up for the same advertisement.
Detectives believe there may be additional victims. Anyone with information or who may have been a victim is encouraged to contact The Northern District at 410-222-6135.
This isn’t the young man’s first run-in with the law. He was arrested earlier in July for breaking into an elderly man’s home and robbing him according to this story in The Capital newspaper. In that incident, Valentine was charged as an adult with armed robbery, assault, burlgary, theft of less than $10,000, destruction of property and related gun charges, the story said. According to state court documents, Valentine was slated to be arraigned on those charges in the middle of the month. Valentine is innocent of the charges until proven otherwise by a court of law.
No booking photo was provided by police in the incident from Monday, but the photo at right was distributed in associated with the earlier charges.