Montgomery County Police say that a man is in custody in connection with five similar carjackings in Wheaton during the past week.
Authorities identified the suspect as Henry Levi Sanders, 50, of Landover. He is facing multiple counts of kidnapping and robbery. An arrest warrant for Sanders was issued on Tuesday.
The string of carjackings, all of which took place near the Westfield Wheaton mall, were similar in that the suspect carjacked a victim, then forced him to withdraw money from several ATMs.
Retired cardiologist Dr. Tazewell Banks was one of the victims of the alleged carjacker. The 79-year-old shows the cuts and bruises he suffered from his encounter on the 18th in front of a post office in Hyattsville.
“He said ‘you gotta get out of the car cause I’m taking the car,’” Banks recalls. “I thought he was kidding and the next thing I know he popped me upside the head. I got a couple blows in but he was hitting me harder than I was hitting him.”
He was so badly beaten his wife says he wasn't recognizable. Banks’ was one of at least five similar kidnappings of older men now attributed to Sanders. Banks said he was relieved to hear an arrest was made.
Three carjackings in one week
The first incident occurred near the Giant supermarket in the 2700 block of University Boulevard on Nov. 23. Police say the suspect carjacked the 75-year-old victim at knifepoint, then drove him to various locations around the area to take money out from cash machines.
Three days later, another man was carjacked and forced to do the same thing. He and his car were later found in Northwest D.C.
Finally, this past Sunday, a third man, 77, was victimized in the mall's parking lot.
After the third incident, police released surveillance video of who they said was the suspect.
“He’s a serious repeat offender who needed to be taken off the street,” said Asst. Chief Ruse Hamill of the Montgomery County Police.
Sanders was arrested at the home he owns in Landover where his fiancé said Wednesday she thought he worked doing home improvements.
Sanders' criminal record goes back
Court records show that Sanders has previous, open charges of armed robbery and assault, among others.
Most recently, Sanders is facing multiple robbery and assault charges in Prince George's County Circuit Court in Upper Marlboro for carjackings allegedly committed on Nov. 18 and 20. He was indicted on those charges on Nov. 22, records show.
Sanders also has charges on his record of theft, unlawful taking of a vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia and armed robbery dating back to at least 1999.
He is being held in Prince George's County.