A Fredericksburg detective testified Tuesday that Dervon M. Tate celebrated his 28th birthday Jan. 3 by robbing a Sunoco store in the city before heading up to Washington with a friend to visit a strip club.

Detective Patrick Lamb said that Tate went on to rob two more businesses before he was arrested Jan. 15.

Judge John R. Stevens certified three robbery charges and other offenses to a city grand jury following a preliminary hearing in Fredericksburg General District Court. The grand jury will meet later this month.

The Sunoco at 201 Jefferson Davis Highway was robbed by two men Jan. 3. Tate is accused of being the gunman in that robbery and others.The Exxon station at 3201 Plank Road was robbed Jan. 6, and the United Bank at 1304 Central Park Blvd. on Jan. 9.

Katherine Meyer, a teller at the bank, was the only victim to testify at the preliminary hearing. She said a masked gunman wearing gloves, sunglasses and dark clothing entered the bank that morning and ordered an employee to the floor at gunpoint.

He then did the same thing to Meyer, telling her “not to be nervous” and to stay calm. The robber left with an undisclosed amount of money after telling Meyer to count to 30 before getting up.

Tate was arrested after Detective Johnny Wright stopped a car that matched the description given by a witness following the Sunoco robbery. Lamb said he immediately responded to the traffic stop and asked Tate about a gun that had been reported stolen in Orange County.

Lamb said Tate gave him a key to the trunk and directed him to the gun, which was in a backpack. He told Lamb there had been a misunderstanding between him and his former girlfriend, who had recently kicked him out of her home.

Police later searched the car and found clothing, a backpack and shoes similar to items worn or carried by the robber in all three surveillance videos. He also had a large amount of cash and a stack of $2 bills similar to those taken in the bank robbery.

Lamb testified that Tate told him he’d found the $2 bills in a parking lot and that the rest of the money came from cashing in his 401K after losing his job.

Lamb also said that although the robber’s face couldn’t be seen on the surveillance videos, his build was similar to Tate’s.

Prosecutor Justin Whitt argued that Tate took to robbery because of money problems, including a pending child support case.

Timothy N. Tolson, 28, of Fredericksburg is accused of assisting Tate in the Sunoco robbery. Tolson waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday and also had a robbery charge sent to the grand jury.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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