Local News

Suspect in armed robberies was on intensive probation

Posted December 15, 2008 1:00 p.m. EST
Updated December 16, 2008 7:34 a.m. EST

— A Raleigh man arrested last week in connection with a string of armed robberies at restaurants and convenience stores was supposed to be under intense supervised probation for a previous crime, according to court records.

Steven Peter Sylvester, 18, was arrested on 10 counts of robbery with a firearm and one count of attempted armed robbery in connection with the series of crimes, which date back to October.

In addition, he faces charges of violating his probation. At the time of his arrest, Sylvester was serving three concurrent probation sentences totaling to 30 months, for common-law robbery, felony breaking-and-entering and driving while impaired, according to state Department of Correction records.

Six of those which were supposed to be intensive probation. Intensive probation requires several face-to-face weekly meetings with a probation officer.

Keith Acree, a spokesman for the Department of Correction, said on Nov. 7, authorities issued two arrest warrants for probation absconding because Sylvester had not reported to his probation officer since early October.

Police said Monday that the investigation into the robberies is ongoing.

Sylvester is accused of stealing more than $2,500 from five restaurants and five convenience stores.

The first in which Sylvester is charged happened Oct. 11 at the Your House Restaurant on Capital Boulevard in which $876 was stolen. The last two happened Dec. 4 at a Waffle House on New Bern Avenue and a Kangaroo gas station on Creedmoor Road.

Raleigh police said that in each crime, the assailant pointed a gun at employees and that during an Oct. 31 robbery of a Capital Boulevard Subway, he hit the clerk with his gun and then put it to her head.

He faces an attempted robbery charge in an Oct. 16 robbery of a McDonald's on Spring Forest Road.

Sylvester was in the Wake County jail Monday under a $2.04 million bond. During a first court appearance Monday afternoon, District Judge Jane Gray denied a request to reduce bond, saying she believes he is a danger to the community.

She appointed him a public defender and set a probable cause hearing for Jan. 5.

Two other men, Dexter Maxwell, 20, of 6516-K The Lakes Drive, Raleigh, and Jesus Borrero, 21, of 7612 Neuse Bend Drive, Raleigh, are also charged in the case. Each faces one count of robbery with a firearm in a Nov. 21 robbery of a Subway restaurant on Wake Forest Road.

Each was in the Wake County jail under a $150,000 bond Monday afternoon. Gray also scheduled probable cause hearings for both suspects for Jan. 5.

North Carolina's probation system has come under scrutiny this year after the shooting deaths of Duke graduate student Abhijit Mahato in January and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior Eve Carson in March.

Suspects in both those slayings were on probation at the time of the crimes, and an internal investigation found they had been overlooked. Overworked and undertrained staff and no central information system were partly to blame.

Last week, the state announced a statewide Web-based application that will help probation officers easily track offenders in their caseload and know sooner when they have been arrested or convicted of other crimes.