Montgomery County Police say they have arrested and charged 25-year-old Joenathan Nelson and 20-year-old Azriel Echavarria, both of Washington, D.C., with a series of armed robberies and carjackings that took place in the county during February and March.
A third suspect is still at large, and police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect.
According to an MCPD press release, the incidents that Nelson and Echavarria are charged with include:
“On Sunday, February 20, 2022, at approximately 7:08 a.m., 4th District Officers responded to the 7-Eleven store in the 3500 block of University Blvd. West [in Kensington] for the report of an armed robbery that just occurred. The investigation by detectives determined that three suspects arrived at the location in a black Honda Ridgeline, which they had just allegedly stolen from Live Oak Dr. in Montgomery County [Silver Spring]. The suspects entered the store, displayed handguns, and demanded an employee remove money from the cash register. The employee complied with the suspects’ demands. A round was fired into the store, but no one was struck. One of the suspects stole a key fob from a customer in the store. The suspects then exited the store, and one of the suspects fled the scene in the customer’s vehicle, a gray Lexus RX. The other two suspects fled in the Honda.
“A short time later, the Food Stop Mini Mart in the 4000 block of Boiling Brook Parkway [in North Bethesda] was robbed at gunpoint by the same suspects. During this robbery, the suspects also stole money from the cash register and fired one round, which did not strike anyone. The suspects fled the scene in the stolen vehicles towards Washington, D.C.
“On Saturday, February 26, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the Lexus RX was used during an armed robbery in the 1300 block of 45th Pl. in Washington, D.C.
“On Wednesday, March 2, at approximately 4:15 a.m., two suspects arrived at the intersection of Cameron St. and Spring St. [in Silver Spring] in a black Audi A6 that they had allegedly stolen earlier that morning. The suspects exited the Audi, pointed a firearm to the head of an adult male victim, stole his property and fled the scene.
“Moments later, the same two suspects, armed with handguns, stole money and property from the 7-Eleven store in the 11000 block of Georgia Ave. [in Silver Spring].
“Detectives reviewed the surveillance footage of the stores and the areas where these crimes occurred and obtained a physical description of the suspects. Throughout the course of the investigation, Joenathan Nelson and Azriel Echavarria were identified as two of the suspects who were involved in the series of armed robberies and carjackings.
“Detectives applied for and received an arrest warrant, charging Nelson and Echavarria with armed robbery, first-degree assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and armed carjacking-related charges.
“Probable cause was developed to obtain a search and seizure warrant at a residence on Jay St. in Washington, D.C. Items of evidentiary value connecting Nelson to these crimes were recovered at this residence. A search warrant was executed at another residence in Washington, D.C., where Echavarria was arrested. Echavarria is in custody in Washington, D.C. Detectives have a detainer on file for the crimes Echavarria committed in Montgomery County.
“On Thursday, March 17, detectives located Nelson inside a vehicle in a parking lot around the 7000 block of New Hampshire Ave. [in Takoma Park]. Upon seeing the officers, Nelson attempted to flee in his vehicle by striking the officers’ vehicles in an effort to avoid apprehension. Officers managed to take Nelson into custody. During the search of Nelson’s vehicle, three loaded handguns were recovered. He was transported to the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit, where he was also charged with first-degree assault and four counts of firearm-related charges. He is being held without bond.”
Police say that the suspect that still remains at large was described as a Black male, approximately 6-feet tall, between 20 and 30 years old, medium build, wearing a dark-colored puffy jacket with a white outline zipper, black jeans, and black shoes.
Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the third suspect. Anonymous tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at (866) 411-TIPS (8477), submit a tip online, or via the P3 Tips app.
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