WASHINGTON — A Maryland man is facing assault, home invasion, armed robbery and kidnapping charges after Montgomery County police say he shoved his way into an 80-year-old woman’s Potomac home where he used to live and threatened her at knifepoint.
Robert Dove, 39, of Frederick, allegedly knocked on the unnamed victim’s door around 4 p.m. Oct. 14, claiming he was there to inspect her roof.
Police said the woman was suspicious of his timing, since it was a Sunday, and of his intentions. Dove explained this by telling her he was sent by the Home Owner’s Association, but the victim said she did not want her roof inspected.
That’s when he shoved her aside and went into the house. Dove pulled out a knife and demanded jewelry and money.
Police said she gave Dove around $400 in cash and took him to a rear bedroom in her house to hand him her jewelry box. He took one piece of jewelry out of the box – a gold chain – and placed it in his pocket, but then demanded that she drive him to an ATM to get more money.
She tried to talk to him instead.
The victim asked Dove why he was doing this, and offered to sit down and help him. They went into the main living area in the home to talk.
At one point, he saw a bottle of vodka on a shelf, and he asked her if he could have a drink. She said yes, and he made himself a drink.
Dove then told the victim that she is very pretty, and asked for her name. She told him her name is Mary.
The victim then realized no one would be close enough to help if he assaulted her, because her residence is so secluded. She said she felt like he was very much in control of her.
At that point, Dove told the victim his name, and that police would be looking for him because he had fled the pre-release program work detail he was in while serving 20 years for manslaughter. The victim said he continued to talk, telling her about numerous troubles he was going through.
After over an hour of talking, she sensed that Dove was more comfortable with her, so the victim suggested they go for a drive. She told him that she had some good country music in her car.
Dove agreed, and he reached into his pocket and placed the gold chain from the victim’s jewelry box on a table before they left her house.
When they got in the car, Dove told the victim that he was from Poolesville, and he wanted to show her an old farm in that area where he used to hunt.
At the farm, the victim said she realized how secluded the farm was, and she told Dove “I know that you could kill me.” He acknowledged that he could, but that he was not going to.
Trying to get somewhere public and stay a few steps ahead of Dove, the victim told Dove she was hungry and wanted to eat. She was still uncertain how to end the situation, but wanted to be around other people.
“Although this woman was obviously frightened, she did what she thought was best to keep herself safe in the situation,” Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti, with Montgomery County police, told WTOP.
“She was constantly thinking about how to get herself in public and to keep herself safe.”
Dove directed the victim to a nearby restaurant where he appeared to know multiple people, and he introduced the victim as his “friend.” She said Dove seemed much more comfortable with her at this point, and he was not longer threatening her.
The victim later told police she didn’t alert anyone or try to flee because she was afraid Dove would hurt her when he got out of jail or send someone else to hurt her.
When they were done eating, the victim paid the bill, and Dove suggested they go back to the her Potomac home.
The victim was afraid of what Dove might do back at her house, and instead offered to pay for a hotel room for him. He agreed, and told her he wanted it for three nights. They drove to the Hilton Hotel on Rockville Pike, and the victim went inside and reserved the room while Dove waited in the car.
She went back outside and gave him both room keys. Dove told her to drive herself straight home and call him when she got there.
Instead, the victim drove to a friend’s house in Bethesda, where she broke down and explained what happened to her with Dove.
Her friend told the victim to call the police, but she was worried that Dove would find out. The victim said that she encouraged Dove to turn himself in throughout the evening when he kidnapped her, and she felt that he would.
Since Dove violated the pre-release agreement by running, an escape warrant had already been issued for Dove while he and the woman were together.
The following day, Montgomery County Sheriff deputies learned that Dove was staying at the Rockville hotel when one of Dove’s family members called the department. At the hotel, they found Dove in the lobby and took him into custody.
That afternoon, the victim did call police, and they identified Dove as the suspect. Police said he confessed during an interview with detectives.
Investigators later learned that Dove had previously lived at the Potomac house before the victim did.
Dove has been charged with home invasion, armed robbery, first-degree assault and kidnapping. He’s being held without bond.
WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.