Office of the State's Attorney for Baltimore City

For Immediate Release: 10/16/17

Central Baltimore — Wayne Bell, 26, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being found guilty on all counts stemming from the robbery on one victim and the second degree assault of another. This is his third conviction for a crime of violence.

Assistant State’s Attorney (ASA) Matt Pillion prosecuted the case.

On September 23, 2016, a 79-year-old woman was walking around Station North after seeing a movie at the Charles Theatre. While she was in the unit to 100 blocks of East Lanvale Street, Bell walked by her and attempted to snatch her purse. She tried to hold on to her purse, but Bell overpowered her—ripping the purse away after a struggle. Bell quickly fled with the purse down a nearby alley and into the 100 block of East Lafayette Street. 

Meanwhile, a man—who was renovating a house in the neighborhood—saw the entire incident unfold, and ran to help the woman. As the man entered the 100 block of East Lafayette Street, he saw Bell sitting on the curb rummaging through the woman’s purse. The man approached Bell, and asked him why he had robbed the woman of her purse. Bell claimed that it was “his girl’s” purse; but, then jumped up, punched the man in the face, and attempted to flee again. However, the man grabbed Bell to restrain him.

With the help of two bystanders, the man held Bell on the ground until Baltimore Police officers arrived.

“We should all feel inspired that the defendant was apprehended because the citizens of Baltimore saw him attack an elderly woman walking alone and immediately came to her aid,” ASA Pillion said.

Baltimore Police Officer Nicholas Billings was the first to arrive on scene, and quickly handcuffed Bell. Officers helped the woman retrieve the contents of her purse, which were scattered about the sidewalk and street.

 ASA Pillion said Officer Billings’ body-worn camera recorded the entire incident—providing jurors a first-hand perspective of the events.

“This is an incredible story of selflessness and bravery, and demonstrates how law enforcement and the community are key to maintaining public safety,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.