DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Maryland

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 14, 2020
Contact: Marica Murphy

Baltimore Man Sentenced to Nine Years in Federal Prison for His Participation in an Armed Robbery of a Restaurant

Co-Conspirator Held Store Owners at Gunpoint While Defendant Emptied the Cash Register and Tip Jar and Stole the Victims’ Personal Cell Phones

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III sentenced Joseph Coates, age 29, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to nine years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for an armed commercial robbery in which a firearm was brandished.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Timothy Jones of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.

As detailed in guilty plea, on February 21, 2018, Coates and co-conspirator Jason Walker robbed a restaurant in the 2200 block of Wilkins Avenue in Baltimore. Coates admitted that during the robbery, Walker pointed a handgun at one of the victims, while Coates took all the money from the cash register and tip jar. In addition, Coates and Walker took the victims’ personal cell phones before fleeing the restaurant.

After receiving a 911 call to report the robbery, a Baltimore Police officer was canvassing the area and saw two men in an alley who matched the description provided by the victims. The men were standing by a wall counting cash. Officers detained the men and brought one of the victims to the location. That person identified Coates as one of the men that had committed the robbery. Officers arrested and searched Coates and Walker, recovering $272 in cash, a plastic bag full of change, blue bandanas, a black mask, two cellular telephones that belonged to two of the victims of the robbery, and a receipt from the restaurant. Officers also recovered a fully loaded revolver from the area where Coates and Walker were counting money. Walker admitted that it was the gun he brandished during the robbery of the restaurant.

Jason Walker, age 31, of Baltimore, Maryland, was previously sentenced to 121 months in federal prison, for his role in the robbery.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Goldsticker, who is prosecuting the case.


Baltimore Field Division