Montgomery County police have arrested a 19-year-old man under suspicion of using a handgun to rob two stores in the Silver Spring and neighboring Wheaton, Maryland. What makes this story peculiar is how the police found the suspect. The man's family member was stopped on the street after police noted his clothes were similar to the clothes worn in the second alleged robbery.
According to Gazette.Net, a surveillance camera within the Westfield Wheaton mall Hollister Company captured an image of a suspected robber as he left the store. Police do not claim that the apparent robber wore anything particularly unique, but that did not prevent police from stopping someone seven days after the incident for wearing clothes that somewhat resembled the alleged robber. It is unclear if the police were operating on some unreported information that indicated the man's clothing was used in the robbery.
After police stopped the man, he told officers that a family member had given him the clothes and police arrested the 19 year old the next day. Police claim the suspect subsequently admitted to the two robberies and using a handgun during both. He was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, handgun offenses, two counts of armed robbery and theft under $100.
If convicted, the young man could spend up to 20 years in prison for the armed robbery charges alone.
While police must rely on the information they have, it is extremely important that they have enough evidence to arrest someone. Weak evidence or evidence that barely connects a suspect to a crime may not be enough to bring someone in and question them about a crime. One of the reasons why it is so vital that police have sufficient evidence is that anyone can become confused or scared by police questioning and say something that can have horrible consequences.
Source: Gazette.Net, "Borrowed clothing leads to arrest of Silver Spring man for Wheaton robbery," Jeremy Arias, Sept. 22, 2011