BERLIN — A Berlin man, arrested in March 2015 after robbing an Ocean Pines bank at gunpoint before taking an employee’s vehicle and fleeing the scene, was sentenced last Thursday to a combined 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to armed robbery and brandishing a firearm.
Jeffrey V. Hare, 54, was indicted last 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. In January, Hare pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm. Back in federal court last Thursday, Hare was sentenced to three years for the first count and seven years for the second to be served consecutively, netting a total 10 years. He was also placed on supervised probation for five years following his release and was ordered to pay $2,850 in restitution.
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 in a nearby shopping center parking lot.
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, his residence and his vehicle. WCBI detectives located evidence that supported probable cause connecting him to the bank earlier in the day. In addition, an eye witness 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. The box was eventually located and contained the ski mask Hare wore, a .38 caliber revolver believed to have been used during the robbery and the purse Hare stole from the bank employee, including her driver’s license.