Masked man accused in attempted 7-Eleven holdup is tied to incidents in region
By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Authorities say a New Jersey man accused of robbing a Harrisonburg store of a cash register in March committed similar crimes in that city and in Middletown in 2009.
Gregory Charles Maradeo, 34, of Vineland, is charged in Frederick County Circuit Court with attempted armed robbery and use of a firearm. A grand jury on Sept. 8 indicted Maradeo on the charges sought by Middletown police. A judge issued an arrest warrant for Maradeo, who is currently being held at the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Regional Jail.
Maradeo tried to rob a clerk at the 7-Eleven, at 7600 Main St., Middletown, the night of Sept. 11, 2009, according to Middletown Police Chief Phil Breeden.
The suspect entered the business while wearing a blue bandanna that covered most of his face, Breeden said Tuesday. The suspect pointed a handgun, later identified as an air pistol, and demanded money.
The clerk didn't buy it.
"The clerk said 'the gun's not even real,'" Breeden recalled, citing police documents. "[The suspect] kept telling the guy 'it was a robbery, it was a robbery,' so the clerk didn't believe him."
The narrative of the incident as reported in police documents states the suspect grabbed the clerk on the shoulder and forced him to go to the cash register, Breeden states. Once there, the suspect pulled out a black and brown handgun.
"The clerk believed the handgun to be a air pistol or a BB gun and stated to the suspect 'you will need more than a BB gun to get money from me,'" Breeden said, reading from the report. "The clerk lunged toward the suspect in an attempt to get the suspect to exit the store. The suspect sidestepped the clerk and then in fact did exit the building. Before the suspect exited the building the suspect said 'you should have given me the money ... but I like you.'"
The suspect left the store without firing the pistol.
Maradeo remains held at the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Regional Jail on charges of robbery, attempted escape and wearing a mask. The charges stem from a March 21 incident in which authorities say Maradeo wore a mask, displayed a weapon and robbed an Exxon convenience store on Reservoir Street in Harrisonburg by stealing a cash register, according to a Harrisonburg police news release. Maradeo was seen fleeing the store on foot carrying the register, the release states. Witnesses helped the pursuing police officers find the suspect, who was apprehended a short time later nearby. The release states Maradeo assaulted the female clerk, and she received treatment at the scene for non-life threatening injuries.
Since Maradeo's arrest, authorities in Harrisonburg and other jurisdictions began investigating whether they could link the man to earlier robberies.
Authorities in Harrisonburg have sought indictments against Maradeo for robbery of a business while armed. The incident occurred Sept. 12, 2009, according to court records. More information on the incident was not available.
Woodstock police Chief Bryan Hutcheson said Wednesday that Maradeo is a possible suspect in a September 2009 robbery there. Town police have not charged Maradeo with any offenses related to the matter, which is still under investigation, Hutcheson said.