Sheriff’s deputies arrested a couple on Saturday who they believe are responsible for a string of thefts from Frederick-area stores over the last few months, according to court documents.
Horace Vincent Smith Jr., 56, and Andrena Lisa Ramos-Smith, 53, of the 700 block of Cromwell Court in Frederick, were both charged with a single count each of a felony theft scheme as well as multiple counts of theft from $100 to $1,500, according to an online search of court records Monday.
Ramos-Smith is also facing a second-degree assault charge and a related offense for threatening to pepper spray a loss prevention employee when the couple was confronted outside one of the two stores that deputies said the couple targeted Saturday.
Deputy 1st Class Christian Lucente first made contact with the couple after receiving a call from dispatchers about a theft in progress from the Target on Urbana Pike at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The deputy stopped Smith and Ramos-Smith as they were pushing a shopping cart with two laptops that Target loss prevention said the couple had just stolen from the store using a cutting tool, the documents state.
Smith and Ramos-Smith began yelling at Lucente when he detained them and asked for their identification, telling the deputy that they owned all the items in the cart and were taking them to return them to another store nearby, according to the documents.
A Target loss prevention officer arrived a short time later and told the deputy that the store had video of the couple using a cutting device found in Smith’s possession to steal the laptops. Further, the Target employee said the store had surveillance footage linking Smith and Ramos-Smith to at least three other thefts from the store between May 24 and July 6 in which the couple had stolen $2,249.94 worth of merchandise, the documents state.
The stolen property was confiscated and Smith and Ramos-Smith were informed that they would be charged at a later date for the thefts before they were released from the scene.
Later that same day, Lucente heard another theft call being reported by loss prevention officers at the Walmart on Guilford Drive with suspect descriptions matching Smith and Ramos-Smith, the documents state. Smith and Ramos-Smith were found a short distance from the Walmart, where loss prevention employees said they had tried to leave the store with a TV without paying for it, according to the documents.
The couple abandoned the TV when a loss prevention officer confronted them as they tried to leave and Ramos-Smith pulled what appeared to be a can of pepper spray and threatened the employee with it when he followed them out of the store, the documents state.
Again, loss prevention officers for Walmart told deputies that they had surveillance footage of the attempted theft and that they recognized Smith and Ramos-Smith from multiple previous thefts dating back to May. The store promised to provide surveillance footage of these other thefts at a later date and Smith and Ramos-Smith were taken into custody and ultimately ordered held without bail by a District Court commissioner, according to court records.
Ramos-Smith’s bond status was modified to allow for her release if she is able to post a fully secured bail in the amount of $5,000, while Smith will continue to be held without bail in the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, according to separate rulings by Frederick County District Court Judge Eric Schaffer on Monday.
Schaffer indicated that Smith’s extensive criminal history dating back to 1982 in New York and more recently in Maryland, as well as the fact that Smith had at least one unrelated open case pending at the time of his arrest on Saturday, played a role in his decision.