SNOW HILL – A pair of Pennsylvania men convicted earlier this year of conspiracy to commit armed robbery after Ocean City Police were able to identify them as two of three men who entered a downtown motel lobby brandishing guns last June were both sentenced in separate hearings in the last two weeks to 10 years in prison, six of which were then suspended.
Last week, Jose Antonio Vasquez, now 18, of Reading, Pa., appeared in Worcester County Circuit Court for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty in February to conspiracy to commit armed robbery, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered at the time, and Vasquez was brought back to court last week to learn his fate.
Vasquez was sentenced to 10 years in jail with six years suspended, netting him four years in prison. He was also placed on probation for two years following his release. This week, a second suspect convicted of the same crime in March, Aaron Taylor, 20, also of Reading, appeared for his sentencing hearing and was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but four suspended and was placed no probation for three years.
Around 5:45 a.m. last June 11, Ocean City police responded to the Americana Hotel for a reported armed robbery. When officers arrived on the scene, they were told three masked individuals brandishing handguns entered the hotel lobby around 5 a.m. The armed robbers then stole money and property from the hotel and the desk clerk before heading off in an unknown direction. At the time of the robbery, the suspects were wearing white masks with holes cut out for the eyes and mouths.
During the investigation, police detectives were able to obtain information that led them to a suspect from Reading, Pa., later identified as Vasquez. At around 11:30 p.m. that night, OCPD investigators, with the assistance of the Reading Police Department, located and arrested Vasquez in his hometown and took him into custody.
Vasquez was later extradited to Worcester County.
With Vasquez in custody, police detectives were still working on the identities of the other two suspects. Following leads and other evidence in the case, investigators were able to track the two other suspects wanted in the robbery, both of whom are also from Reading. On June 16, police detectives traveled to Reading and arrested the other two suspects wanted in connection with the crime.
While Vasquez and Taylor have now been convicted and sentenced, Raker has not been located and an arrest warrant for him is still active.