White Plains man pleads guilty to two Montgomery County carjackings

September 9, 2013

A White Plains man has pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Circuit Court to two carjackings that he committed last year in Rockville. In court Monday. prosecutors said Byron Govan was behind a series of crimes stretching across Maryland and into Virginia that have not yet been resolved.

At his sentencing in December, Govan, 28, faces a total of 100 years in prison, but 65 of those could be suspended, for the current counts against him, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors and court records, Govan’s spree in Montgomery County began in late September 2012, when he stole the car of a woman who was depositing money at an ATM on Congressional Lane in Rockville.

The woman, Molly Hauck, said in an interview after the court proceeding that she made two mistakes: going to the ATM at night and leaving the car doors unlocked with her purse inside.

When she returned to her car, Hauck found it locked, the windows closed, and a cleanshaven man dressed in a green plaid shirt inside, rummaging through her purse.

“I looked right at him in the window,” she said.

“He was just a good-looking young guy — I wouldn’t have looked at him twice if he was doing something legal,” she added.

She believes he had been in the bushes by the ATM.

“He was just waiting for someone to come along,” she said.

When she told him to leave the car and take the money, he told her he had a gun, Hauck said.

Her personal checks were in the car, and police soon began tracking Govan when he used the woman’s checks to buy prepaid credit cards, prosecutors said.

Police eventually pulled surveillance footage of Govan using the cards at a Little Caesar’s in Temple Hills just a day after he stole Hauck’s Prius.

But that wasn’t all, according to prosecutors: Govan’s spree stretched across Maryland and into Virginia.

Just days after he stole the Prius, Govan drove to Anne Arundel County and robbed a store clerk at a Rite-Aid at gunpoint, according to Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Eric Nee.

On Oct. 31, a little more than a month after that first carjacking, police discovered the shell of the Prius Govan had stolen; it had been deserted in Rockville and burned.

That same day, according to his charging documents, Govan used a handgun to steal a Lincoln Aviator from two people who were sitting in it in a parking lot on Rockville Pike. Police spotted the car on I-495 and chased Govan, but he escaped and deserted the car behind a library in Silver Spring, court records show.

The gun was never found, but in court, Adam Harris, Govan’s public defender, said it was a BB gun.

Govan also used credit cards taken in the second robbery to buy himself a slew of goods, court records show: prepaid credit cards and two pairs of Nike sneakers worth almost $400. He also bought a sports cap and gift cards, and as the evening drew to a close, spent almost $200 at a sports bar in Waldorf.

Police tracked Govan down after he tried to hit on a woman in Alexandria and put his phone number in her phone, prosecutors said in court.

Police charged Govan in November 2012.

Govan — tall, bearded, and wearing glasses — was silent through most of the proceedings.

Harris declined to comment for this story. Calls to a phone listed for Govan’s family were not answered or returned.

After the plea, one of Govan’s victims expressed relief.

Hauck, a Kensington psychologist, said she had been depositing money at a Wells Fargo ATM on Congressional Lane.

She was at the ATM for just a few moments before heading back to her car and discovering Govan inside.

The robbery has left its mark on her, she said.

“Now, I’m vigilant,” she said. She no longer goes to ATMs at night.

In November, Govan is scheduled to plead to a separate armed robbery that took place in Anne Arundel County last September. According to prosecutors, he also is the main suspect in an armed robbery that took place in a Dunkin’ Donuts in Alexandria, Va. That case has not yet gone to trial.

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