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Baltimore men charged in city gas station robbery

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

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Two Baltimore men have been charged with multiple offenses in connection with an October robbery at the Exxon station at 3201 Plank Road in Fredericksburg, police said.

Derek Alexander Roberts, 44, and Rodney Steffon Smith, 50, are both charged with armed robbery, using a firearm in the commission of a felony, possessing a firearm as a felon, abduction, grand larceny and three counts of conspiracy.

Roberts and Smith were indicted Tuesday by a Fredericksburg grand jury, police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said. Both are currently jailed in Maryland on robbery-related charges in Baltimore County and Havre de Grace.

Bledsoe said she isn’t sure what led Fredericksburg detectives to identifying Roberts and Smith as the Exxon robbers.

According to police, robbers entered the Exxon station off Interstate 95 late Oct. 3. One displayed a handgun while ordering the clerk, a 53-year-old Spotsylvania County woman, onto the floor behind the register. The victim was later moved into a bathroom.

The robbers were in the store about 15 minutes. A surveillance camera showed that during that time, several customers showed up at the store or at the gas pumps.

One of the robbers, apparently pretending to be an employee, was seen sending the customers away, presumably by telling them the store was closed.

The men took cigarettes, lottery tickets and an undisclosed amount of money before leaving.

There have been several robberies at businesses along the State Route 3 corridor near the interstate this year, but Roberts and Smith don’t fit the descriptions given in any of the others.

Three months ago, city police named a suspect in robberies at the Shell station at 2301 Plank Road on Aug. 23 and one at the Handy Mart at 3054 Plank Road two weeks later.

Edward George Russell, 23, of Upper Marlboro, Md., is suspected in 11 robberies in Fredericksburg and Prince William and Fairfax counties.

Russell had been on the run, but was apprehended on the Prince William charges earlier this month, court records show. He has not been formally charged in Fredericksburg.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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