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Md. motel standoff continues, man refuses food

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Suspect holds police at bay in Md. motel

The Associated Press

HANCOCK, Md. — A burglary suspect holding police at bay at a western Maryland motel threatened to shoot a police robot bringing food and ignored a recorded plea from his mother to surrender, police said Friday as the standoff dragged on for a day and a half.

The one-story motel has been surrounded by police since Wednesday night, when officers came to arrest James Prevatt III, 26, who is wanted in four states. Prevatt threatened to kill the officers and his pregnant girlfriend, identified as Renee Reynolds, 21, triggering an evacuation of the building.

On Friday, dozens of law enforcement vehicles from local agencies, Maryland State Police and the FBI lined the nearby road. Heavily armed and armored SWAT team members periodically walked up a road alongside the motel and out of sight behind a tree line. Across a bridge, a small group of townsfolk gathered to watch the activity.

Authorities played a recording Thursday night of Prevatt's mother, from Monks Corner, S.C. "In that statement, she was requesting that he come out and give himself up," said Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shapely.

Police also used a robotic vehicle to send pizza and soda that Prevatt requested to his room Thursday evening. But Prevatt threatened to shoot the robot and did not retrieve the food, Shipley said. The robot sat outside the room for hours before police withdrew the vehicle.

Prevatt and Reynolds might not be without supplies. They were known to be at a nearby convenience store buying food Wednesday evening, Shipley said.

Authorities have been in contact with the girlfriend's relatives in Summerville, S.C., and have no indication she is not with Prevatt willingly, Shipley said.

Negotiators also spoke with Reynolds and she told them she was fine. "That is a good report," Shipley said. He added it was Prevatt who informed authorities that Reynolds is pregnant.

Prevatt is wanted in Maryland, South Carolina, Massachusetts and Virginia on burglary and larceny charges, Shipley said,

The standoff at the America's Best Value Inn on U.S. 522 in Hancock has effectively trapped some other guests because their luggage and vehicles are inside the police line, where they cannot be removed.

Troopers and deputies evacuated 12 occupied rooms of the 20 rooms in the red brick motel at the start of the ordeal around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Ohio travelers Doug Collin, of Kirtland, and Mary Lou Bender, of South Euclid, say they'd like to continue their trip to visit her son in Tilghman Island, Md., but their luggage is locked in room 109 of motel.

Collin and Bender say they just want to get their luggage and their car and leave. Motel evacuees are staying at another motel in town.

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