OCEAN CITY, Md.- Authorities said Friday that an employee and his wife are facing charges following accusations that they staged the robbery of a hat store in West Ocean City.
The Worcester County Bureau of Investigation reports that on Friday, Aug. 3, county sheriff's deputies responded to an alarm at Lids, located at 12741 Ocean Gateway. When deputies arrived on the scene, they said they observed that the clerk, identified as 29-year-old Kevin Jamal Purnell, was on the floor of the store, and the doors to the business were locked.
Police said deputies made entry to the store, and made contact with Purnell, who informed them that he had just been robbed at gunpoint. WCBI detectives were contacted and took over the investigation.
Authorities said detectives interviewed Purnell, who claimed that when he was taking out the trash, a "light-skinned black male with dreadlocks dressed in all black clothing" placed a gun in his back and ordered him into the store. Purnell further stated, according to police, that once inside the store, the suspect forced him to lock the door and beat him repeatedly. Purnell reportedly told detectives that once he was incapacitated, the suspect then stole numerous hats from the store before exiting.
During the investigation, detectives had the opportunity to review the surveillance video from inside the store during the time of the alleged robbery. Detectives said that while looking at the video, they observed that the suspect was in fact a light-skinned black female, not a male as previously described by Purnell. Detectives also observed several inconsistencies with the story provided by Purnell on the night of the incident, police said.
Police said the investigation found that 29-year-old Roslyn Monique Purnell, Kevin Purnell's wife, matched the description of the female who had committed the robbery.
Investigators said that during subsequent interviews with both Kevin and Roslyn Purnell, several additional inconsistencies were found in their stories. Based upon all of the information, detectives said they determined that the couple was involved in the theft of the items from hats and had staged the robbery.
Both Kevin and Roslyn Purnell, who are from Berlin, have been charged with theft: $10,000 to under $100,000; conspiracy to commit theft: $10,000 to under $100,000; theft less $1,000; conspiracy to commit theft less $1,000; and obstructing and hindering a police officer. Kevin Purnell was also charged with making a false statement to a police officer.
Warrants are on file for each of the suspect. Anyone with additional information related to this case is asked to the WCBI at (410) 352-3476, or to the Lower Shore Crime Solvers at (410) 548-1776.
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