Pines Bank Robber Pleads Guilty, Faces Life Sentence

Pines Bank Robber Pleads Guilty, Faces Life Sentence

BERLIN — A Berlin man arrested in March after robbing an Ocean Pines bank at gunpoint before taking an employee’s vehicle and fleeing the scene pleaded guilty last week in U.S. District Court to armed robbery and brandishing a firearm and faces a sentence of up to life in prison.

Jeffrey V. Hare was indicted in August in U.S. District Court by a federal grand jury on charges of armed bank robbery, carjacking and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. Last Friday, Hare pleaded guilty to counts one and three and now faces up to life in prison. The armed bank robbery conviction carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, while the brandishing a firearm conviction carries a mandatory minimum of seven years and a maximum of life in prison. Sentencing has been set for April 12.

Around 1:15 p.m. on March 13, 2015, Hare entered the BB&T Bank branch on Route 589 in Ocean Pines wearing a ski mask and brandishing a handgun. Hare told the bank tellers in the lobby he had a gun and was robbing the bank. Hare demanded the tellers give him only $50 and $100 bills and that they didn’t give him any dye packs.

Hare then moved through the bank lobby from employee to employee, pointing the gun at them and demanding money. Hare also demanded each teller give him her purse and car keys, but each teller told him their keys and purses were not available. According to the federal indictment, Hare stole roughly $2,850 in cash from the bank.

After robbing the tellers in the lobby, Hare found an employee who had locked herself in a back room at the bank. Hare forced open the locked door, pointed the gun at the employee and demanded her car keys and purse. The employee gave Hare her purse, which contained cash and personal items along with the keys to her vehicle, a 2007 Kia Spectra, which was parked in the bank parking lot.

Hare exited the bank and fled in the stolen Kia Spectra, which he later abandoned nearby. Multiple law enforcement agencies including the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, a Maryland State Police K-9 unit, and the MSP helicopter Trooper 4 searched the area for the suspect to no avail. Schools and some businesses were placed on lockdown for several hours as the suspect remained at large.

Around 6:30 p.m., after local news media reported the bank robbery, Worcester Central conducted a reverse 911 call to all residences within five miles of the bank. Shortly thereafter, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigations (WCBI) received a tip from a concerned citizen about a possible suspect. WCBI, along with the Worcester Criminal Enforcement Team, the MSP, the FBI and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, converged on two houses in Ocean Pines in an attempt to locate the suspect, who had been identified as Hare.

Hare was located and questioned about his whereabouts earlier in the day. Based on that interview, a search warrant was obtained for Hare’s person, his residence and his vehicle. WCBI detectives located evidence from Hare’s person, residence and vehicle that supported probable cause connecting him to the BB&T Bank earlier in the day. In addition, an eyewitness was located and identified Hare as a suspect seen near the bank during afternoon.

Hare was charged initially in Worcester County, and new information came to light in the plea agreement documents about his attempt to destroy evidence while in custody. On May 1, 2015, an associate of Hare visited him at the Worcester County Detention Center in Snow Hill. During that visit, Hare told the associate he was being framed and that unidentified persons had a box of garbage that would incriminate him.

Hare asked the person to retrieve the box from his former residence in Ocean Pines. On May 6, 2015, Hare called his associate and asked him, “By going to that address, did you get rid of the trash,” referring to the box Hare had asked him to retrieve. The box was eventually located and contained the ski mask Hare wore during the armed robbery and carjacking, a .38 caliber revolver believed to have been used during the robbery and the purse Hare stole from the bank employee.

The plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Worcester County Sheriff Reggie T. Mason, Sr.; Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; and Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby.

U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police and the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and prosecution. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Zachary A. Myers and Matthew J. Maddox, who are prosecuting the case.