MARYLAND

Benjamin Blessing arrested for syringe armed robbery

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COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) - Howard County police have charged a man with armed robbery after he allegedly threatened a woman with a blood-filled syringe he said was tainted with AIDS.

Fifty-two-year-old Benjamin Blessing, of Columbia, was arrested in the April 18 robbery of the CVS Pharmacy in Columbia. Police say Blessing walked into the pharmacy, produced the syringe and held it near the pharmacist's chest. He forced her to open a safe and fled with $27,000 worth of prescription medications.

Blessing is also charged with attempted robbery in a crime on Oct. 10 in which a man approached a woman with her 4-year-old child at an ATM. The man pointed what appeared to be an electronic stun device at the woman and demanded cash. A cab pulled up and the man fled.

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