A Virginia man has been arrested while driving a pickup truck that police believe was used in the getaway from a well-orchestrated armed robbery at Colonial Jewelers in downtown Frederick on Tuesday afternoon, city police said.
Alonzo Meadows, 32, of Fairfax was arrested Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C., with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Department, while driving a black pickup truck that matches the description of the vehicle used in the robbery, according to a Frederick Police Department news release.
Meadows is believed to be one of three masked men who robbed the store located at 1 S. Market St. at about 1:30 p.m., using pepper spray on 10 store employees and customers before smashing a glass display case to steal several “expensive watches” valued at about $200,000, police said.
He is being held by the Metropolitan Police Department on a fugitive warrant for his alleged involvement in the heist, and the truck has been transported to Frederick, where it is being processed for evidence, said Lt. Clark Pennington, spokesman for Frederick police.
“We have the truck, and we are conducting searches on it,” he said.
Before he could be transported to Maryland to be charged, Meadows would have an extradition hearing in Virginia unless he waives that right, Pennington said.
Two Frederick police detectives were in the vicinity on Tuesday when the department was notified that the store was being robbed at gunpoint, police said.
As Detective Michael Morgan approached the store on foot, he saw several men wearing masks leave and run east on Patrick Street, police said.
Morgan chased the men until they got into a black pickup truck with Virginia tags and drove away. Morgan was able to get the license plate number, police said.
The police department thanked the public for its help in investigating the case.
“This type of crime inevitably causes fear and shock not only to the victims, but also to the surrounding community. Despite this, both the victims and the surrounding community pulled together, and helped the [police department] to quickly establish crucial leads,” city Police Chief Thomas Ledwell said in the release. “We are very appreciative.”
During the robbery, the suspects ordered employees and customers in the store to lie on the floor, as one of the men brandished a handgun, police said.
A surveillance video released by police Tuesday showed the men smashing a pane of glass in a display case that contained the watches with what appears to be a mallet.
After removing the merchandise, one of the men squirted pepper spray into the air, exposing about 10 employees and customers.
Employees and customers who were exposed to the pepper spray were treated on scene. There were no other injuries.
Pennington said the investigation is continuing into the identity of the other two suspects.
“We are continuing to [work on this case] and follow leads,” he said.
Ledwell said Tuesday that there were “similarities” between the incident and an armed robbery Monday at a Zales Jewelers in The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
In that incident, four men wearing masks walked into the Virginia store, and two of them used a hammer to smash display cases, according to The Washington Post. The men took 27 rings worth about $128,000.
Pennington said Wednesday that detectives are still investigating whether there is a connection between the Pentagon City robbery and the Frederick incident.
“We have not made a determination whether it’s connected or linked, but we are looking at it,” he said.
Before the arrest was announced, Patty Hurwitz, co-owner of the Colonial Jewelers, said Wednesday morning that it was hard for her to talk about the robbery.
“We’re trying to recover bit by bit,” she said. “Our staff is doing reasonably well.... We have a very close-knit staff.”
Hurwitz attributed the fact that no one was injured during the robbery to the staff’s professionalism and training.
“I’m just glad no one was hurt,” she said.
As of 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Hurwitz said that employees were still cleaning up, but the store was “semi-open.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Morgan at 301-600-1259 or through our tip line at 301-600-TIPS.