A man suspected of robbing five stores and trying to hold up two others was captured by employees of an Anne Arundel County grocery store who recognized him from police warnings. The suspect is also under investigation in at least nine other holdups in Maryland and Virginia.

Gregory Lloyd Gasper, 35, of Annapolis, was tackled by workers who chased him outside a Safeway store Tuesday night, said Officer V. Richard Molloy, Anne Arundel County police spokesman.

Gasper was armed with a gun and a fake bomb, police said.

Store manager Ray Hinchleffe said police and Safeway security officials had alerted employees about a robber after a month-long string of holdups at restaurants and grocery stores in Maryland and Virginia.

Hinchleffe saw that Gasper matched the description of the robber, whom police dubbed the "ponytail robber" because of the man's hairstyle.

Hinchleffe followed him around the store as Gasper filled a hand basket.

"He turned and hit me in the head with {the basket} and ran out of the store," Hinchleffe said. He and two clerks tackled Gasper in the parking lot.

A gun and a fake bomb -- a road flare with a light -- were found after the struggle, police said. Another flare and a small lightbulb and tape were found in Gasper's car, they said.

He was charged with five counts of armed robbery and two counts of attempted armed robbery. He is under investigation in holdups in Prince George's, Baltimore and Fairfax counties, police said.