SNOW HILL – A Finksburg, Md. man arrested in April for his part in a pair of armed robberies in the resort, pleaded guilty last week to attempted armed robbery and was sentenced to eight years in jail, all of which but 18 months was suspended.
Matthew Balaz-Ogle, 19, was in Circuit Court in Snow Hill last Tuesday facing a slew of charges against him for his part in two armed robberies in Ocean City on the same night in April. Balaz-Ogle was arrested on April 22 along with two other accomplices in the robberies: Andrew William Hyle, Jr., 16, also of Finksburg, who was tried as an adult in his case; and a juvenile female.
The trio was arrested after resort police connected them to two armed robberies, the first on the Boardwalk and the second a short time later on a motel parking lot at 30th Street. In the first incident, Balaz-Ogle waited in a getaway car while Hyle approached a 45-year-old woman and two teenage girls on the Boardwalk and asked for a cigarette.
When his request was denied, Hyle turned around and covered his face with a mask and demanded money from the woman and the two girls at knifepoint. The woman refused and Hyle threatened to stab the woman before fleeing the scene and jumping in a car driven by Balaz-Ogle.
A short time later, Hyle and Balaz-Ogle ran into a pair of teenage boys in a meeting pre-arranged by the juvenile female accomplice of the robbers. The female told the two soon-to-be-victims earlier in the night to meet her in the motel parking lot at 30th Street, but when they arrived, the victims were accosted by Hyle and Balaz-Ogle.
The female accomplice later admitted she had come to Ocean City with Hyle and Balaz-Ogle and had lured the two victims to the parking lot for the robbery. Balaz-Ogle held up one of the victims at knifepoint, stealing a gold chain, an IPod, a cell phone and a hat. Hyle and Balaz-Ogle fled the scene when the father of one of the victims arrived at the scene and broke up the robbery, but not before they made off with the belongings of the two victims.
Ocean City police were investigating the first attempted armed robbery back on the Boardwalk when they got the call about the armed robbery at 30th Street by a pair matching the same description. OCPD officers later arrested Hyle and Balaz-Ogle on the beach not far from where the second incident occurred.
Last week in Circuit Court, Balaz-Ogle pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery and was sentenced to eight years in jail, all of which was suspended but 18 months. At his trial in August, Hyle received the exact same sentence.