2 DC men arrested in connection with several Montgomery County robberies

Two men from D.C. have been arrested in connection with a string of armed robberies and carjackings that happened in Montgomery County, Maryland, and the District.

Joenathan Nelson, 25, and Azriel Echavarria, 20, were both arrested after Montgomery County police identified them as being part of a trio of men who hit at least three convenience stores between late February and early March.

The first robbery took place on Feb. 20 at a 7-Eleven store on University Boulevard in the Kensington area. According to investigators, the men arrived at the store around 7 a.m. in a black Honda Ridgeline that they stole from Live Oak Drive in Silver Spring.

When they entered the store, the men had guns and demanded money from the cash register. An employee at the store complied with the demands. During the robbery, a gun was fired into the store but no one was hurt.

The trio are also accused of taking the keys to a gray Lexus RX from a person shopping at the 7-Eleven before the group split up and left in the car they arrived in and the Lexus.

After hitting the 7-Eleven, police believe the trio ended up at the Food Stop Mini Mart on Boiling Brook Parkway in Rockville. There, the men are accused of stealing money from a cash register and also firing one shot; that bullet didn’t strike anyone.

Then on Feb. 26, the stolen Lexus was used during a robbery on 45th Place in D.C.

On March 2 at 4:15 a.m., Montgomery County investigators said that the men were seen in the downtown Silver Spring area in a black Audi A6 that they stole that same day. At Spring and Cameron streets, they pointed a gun to a man’s head and stole from him.

Moments after that, police said the trio showed up at a 7-Eleven down the street on Georgia Avenue. While holding guns, they stole money from the store.

Police used surveillance footage and determined that two of the men were Nelson and Echevarria.

Police searched the homes of both men. In Nelson’s home in D.C., they found evidence linking him to the crimes.

Police arrested Echevarria at his home and he is in D.C. police custody. Montgomery County police said they have a detainer on file for the robberies he is accused of in the county.

Nelson was arrested in Takoma Park on March 17, after detectives spotted him in a parking lot on New Hampshire Avenue. Police said he rammed police cars when he tried to evade capture.

Police found three loaded guns in Nelson’s car.

Both men are charged with armed robbery, first-degree assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and armed carjacking-related charges.

The third man police believe took part in the robberies hasn’t been caught.

Anyone with more information is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070 or 240-773-TIPS, or Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 866-411-TIPS (8477). A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the other suspect.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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