Five charged in motel robbery
Front Royal police have arrested five people and charged them in connection with the beating and robbery of a 54-year-old New Market man.
Police said the victim, Peter Stauffer, was attacked in his room at the Blue Ridge Motel, 1370 N. Shenandoah Ave., late on the night of Aug. 20.
Police said the beating and robbing of Stauffer was linked to an incident earlier in the evening in which two of the defendants posing as an undercover police officer and a prostitute bilked a victim out of $17.
Police were called to Stauffer’s room just after midnight on Aug. 21. Stauffer told them the incident began with a text message from an unknown person who asked if he wanted to get together. Stauffer asked who was sending the message and learned that he and the sender had a mutual friend, police said.
Police said Stauffer, after several more back and forth messages, allowed the still-unknown people to come to his room where, upon arriving, they beat him, tied him up with a telephone cord and stole his wallet containing $400 cash. Police said a cell phone and car keys to Stauffer’s 2004 Honda Element were also stolen.
Police said Stauffer was taken to Warren Memorial Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Detective Landin Waller said Stauffer has been released from the hospital and is recovering from a broken nose and heavy facial bruises, injuries inflicted by fists.
Police identified the defendants as Tamara Douglas, 22, Billie Jo McBrearty, 44, Denise Boisse Miller, 30, Mitchell L. Douglas, 47, and Lloyd Heimerling, 30, all of Front Royal. All have been charged with robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Heimerling has also been charged with impersonating a police officer and obtaining money under false pretenses, charges stemming from an incident 45 minutes before Stauffer was robbed.
“He told our victim he was an undercover officer,” Waller said of Heimerling.
Waller said Heimerling identified himself to the first victim as an undercover police officer while the man was talking to McBrearty at an intersection on Main Street. Heimerling told the victim he was under arrest for soliciting a prostitute, Waller said.
“He said you can pay me $100 or $200 or you can go to jail,” Waller said of Heimerling.
Waller described the victim as a man afflicted with “mentally diminished capacity” who allowed Heimerling to take advantage of him. Waller said Heimerling reached into the victim’s pants pocket and removed $17. Waller said Heimerling and McBrearty returned to their residence and then headed out to the Blue Ridge Motel.
Police said Tamara Douglas and McBrearty were arrested on Aug. 27 and are being held without bond at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail. U.S. Marshals in Manassas arrested Miller and Mitchell Douglas on Thursday.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office arrested Heimerling on the same day.
“From what I understand, they received an anonymous tip, and they followed it up and made an arrest,” Waller said of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to contact Waller at 540-636-2208 or email him at email@example.com.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org