After a year’s search, police have charged a woman in three violent robberies at local Advance Auto Parts shops, where customers and workers were held at gunpoint, thrown to the ground and tied up.
Wanda D. Battle, 45, of Suitland, was charged with three counts of armed robbery and three counts of first-degree assault.
Her brother, Steven Williams—a former employee of a Rockville Advance Auto Parts—and Williams’ cousin, Terriet Williams, 36 of Washington, DC, were already convicted of robberies, according to Cpl. Rebecca Innocenti, a police spokeswoman.
Police claim that Battle teamed up with her brother and cousin to rob auto shops in Gaithersburg and Takoma Park in 2011 and 2012.
The first robbery was Dec. 21, 2011, at the Advance Auto Parts at 15316 Frederick Road in Gaithersburg.
Police said Terriet and Steven Williams targetted an employee who was opening the shop for business. The worker was ordered inside and then ordered to open the safe. According to federal court records, the worker was told to “hurry up or you will never see your family again."
The employee’s arms and legs were then bound with flex cuffs.
Six thousand dollars was taken from the business, according to federal court documents.
Police said a woman—whom they claim was Battle—and Steven Williams robbed the same auto shop in the same manner on March 7, 2012. In court records filed for Williams, prosecutors allege a woman was ordered to open a safe and that Battle told him to "blow her brains out" if she didn’t open the safe soon. The robbers made off with $2,700 and a cell phone, federal court documents show.
On Sept. 12, 2012, police claim that Battle and Steven Williams, 43, of Frederick, Md., walked into a Takoma Park Advance Auto Parts wearing “Just Tires” uniforms, posing as customers, Takoma Park Patch reported.
An employee was forced into an office at gunpoint and another female worker was thrown to the ground. Police said they were bound with flex cuffs—as was an 81-year-old customer who was later dragged to the back of the store, according to federal court records. The auto shop was robbed of $800, but the bag of money was left behind during the getaway, according to federal court records.
Steven Williams was tried in federal court and accepted a plea deal. Court records show he has not yet been formally sentenced.
Montgomery County Circuit Court records show that Terriet Williams was found guilty May 6, 2013 of armed robbery and using a firearm in commission of a felony. A judge ordered Terriet Williams to spend 12 years behind bars with five years supervised probation.
A warrant was put out for Battle’s arrest September 2012, but police were unable to find her.
In December, police released Battle’s photograph, hoping for leads and got a tip about her whereabouts.
She was arrested Jan. 9 at a residence in Suitland, Md., and was released on bond.
No attorney was listed for Battle, according to court records.