Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division – Robbery Section have arrested a suspect believed to be responsible for 10 commercial robberies and two street robberies that occurred throughout the county between December 27, 2012 and February 17, 2013.
On February 17, 6th District officers responded to two reports of armed robberies that occurred within a short time in the same area. At 9:23 p.m., officers responded to the Chinese Express located at 849 Russell Avenue in Gaithersburg, and at 9:27 p.m., officers responded to the Exxon gas station located at 24A Montgomery Village Avenue in Gaithersburg. At the Chinese Express, a suspect entered the restaurant, displayed a handgun, and demanded money. The suspect did not obtain any money and fled. At the Exxon, the suspect entered the store, displayed a handgun, and demanded money. The suspect obtained money and cigarettes and fled. In both incidents, the suspect was described as a black male wearing a black ski mask and a black and gray jacket.
A short time later, a 6th District officer observed a vehicle fail to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Christopher Avenue and Hellingly Place. The officer conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and recognized the driver as matching the suspect description for the robberies. Based on surveillance video obtained from the robbery locations and evidence located in the vehicle, including a handgun, the suspect was placed under arrest for the earlier robberies.
The suspect was identified as Duane James, age 52, of the 18600 block of Mustard Seed Court in Germantown. Further investigation by detectives determined that James was also responsible for the following commercial robberies:
- December 27 – Tienda Sula Musica at 11409 Georgia Avenue in Wheaton
- January 21 – Gold Spot at 11935 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring
- January 29 – AT&T Unique Mobile at 13880 Georgia Avenue in Wheaton
- February 2 – Liberty gas station at 623 South Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg
- February 5 – Shell gas station at 260 North Washington Street in Rockville
- February 8 – Wheaton Deli at 11413 Georgia Avenue in Wheaton
- February 10 – Shell gas station at 2240 Viers Mill Road in Rockville
- February 12 – Bel Pre Beer and Wine at 2251 Bel Pre Road in Wheaton
On February 18, James was charged with two counts of armed robbery for the Chinese Express and the Exxon robberies as well as having a handgun in a vehicle and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Following his arrest, robbery detectives obtained a warrant charging James with an additional nine armed robbery charges and three first-degree assault charges for the above listed robberies.
Detectives from the 4th District and the 5th District also obtained warrants for James charging him with an armed street robbery that occurred on January 13 at the Glenmont Metro station and an armed street robbery that occurred on February 10 in the Gaithersburg Square shopping center.
James is currently being held without bond.