U.S. Attorney’s Office
March 23, 2012
District of Maryland
Conspirator Sentenced to Over 10 Years in Prison for the Armed Robbery Conspiracy That Targeted a Bank and Pharmacies
BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg sentenced Robert Gene Harris, age 29, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, today to 128 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit armed robberies of a bank and pharmacies and use of a firearm during a crime of violence. Judge Legg also ordered Harris to pay restitution of $14,925.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; and Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld, III.
According to plea agreements of Robert Gene Harris and his co-conspirators, between July and November of 2010, Harris, Ernest Widener, Freddie Douglas Widener, Richard Adams, and Lacy Varner conspired to rob a bank and pharmacies to obtain money and drugs. Ernest Widener acquired two handguns in Baltimore that were used by other members of the conspiracy during the robberies. On July 30, 2010, Robert Gene Harris and Freddie Widener robbed the M&T Bank on Philadelphia Avenue in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, armed with the handguns supplied by Ernest Widener. Harris and Freddie Widener fled from the bank. Harris was arrested at the scene, but Widener fled in Harris’ car. On September 15, 2010, Freddie Widener and Adams attempted to rob the Loch Raven Pharmacy located on East Northern Parkway in Baltimore City. Both Freddie Widener and Adams were armed, and Freddie Widener discharged his gun during the attempted robbery. Lacy Varner was the getaway driver for the robbery. Adams was apprehended at the scene, but Widener escaped with Varner in the getaway car.
On September 18, 2010, Ernest Widener and Terry Blair set on fire a 1996 Plymouth Neon that had been used as the getaway vehicle in the July 30, 2010 bank robbery and in the September 15, 2010 attempted robbery of the Loch Raven Pharmacy, in an effort to destroy the vehicle.
Co-defendants Ernest Widener, age 54, of Baltimore; Freddie Douglas Widener, age 55, of Dundalk; Richard Adams, age 53, of Baltimore; and Terry Blair, age 52, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the robberies. Terry Blair and Ernest Widener were each sentenced to five years in prison; Richard Adams was sentenced to 174 months in prison; and Freddie Douglas Widener was sentenced to 233 months in prison.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Baltimore Police Department, and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney James G. Warwick, who prosecuted the case.