Couple Sentenced In Fake West OC Robbery

SNOW HILL — A Berlin couple accused of staging an armed robbery at a West Ocean City outlet store last August have been each found guilty of all charges after a two-day trial in Worcester County Circuit Court and each was sentenced to five years in jail.

In a case where the apparent victim turned out to be the alleged suspect, Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detectives learned a reported armed robbery at a West Ocean City outlet store was allegedly staged by an employee and his wife. On Aug. 3, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office responded to an alarm at the Lids store in the Tanger Outlets in West Ocean City. Upon arrival, deputies observed the store clerk, identified as Kevin Jamal Purnell, 29, of Berlin, on the floor of the store with the doors to the business locked. Deputies also observed Purnell had been tied up.

Deputies gained entry to the store and made contact with the bound clerk, who told police he had just been robbed at gunpoint and beaten. WCBI detectives arrived and took over the investigation.

Purnell told police once inside the store, the suspect forced him to lock the door and bound his hands and feet together before beating him repeatedly. Once Purnell was incapacitated, the alleged suspect then stole cash and 893 hats from the store before exiting.

WCBI detectives viewed surveillance video from inside the store at the time of the alleged robbery and observed the suspect was a light-skinned African-American female, and not a male as Purnell has previously described. Detectives also noted several other inconsistencies with the story Purnell provided on the night of the incident.

Further investigation revealed Kevin Purnell’s wife, Roslyn Purnell, 29, of Berlin, matched the description of the female suspect who had committed the robbery as ascertained from the surveillance video. Roslyn Purnell initially claimed to have been in Salisbury at the time of the robbery, but her cell phone records indicated otherwise. Based on all of the information available, it was determined Kevin and Roslyn Purnell were both involved in the theft and had staged the robbery.

On Aug. 17, 2012, Kevin and Roslyn Purnell were apprehended by the Baltimore City Police Department during a routine traffic stop. At the time of their arrest, 641 of the 893 hats stolen during the staged armed robbery were recovered. The sum total of the stolen hats and cash was valued at over $28,000.

Each was charged with theft from $10,000 to $100,000, conspiracy to commit theft from $10,000 to $100,000 and obstructing and hindering a police officer.

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