Two Suspects in Custody in Georgia in Murder of Bartender in Locust Point

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Tonya Hayes, one of three suspects arrested on murder charges. Image via Baltimore Police.

A little over a day after Alex Wroblewski was murdered during an overnight robbery in Locust Point, authorities say two of three suspects are in custody down in Georgia, with the third still on the lam.

Police said at a press conference earlier Wednesday afternoon that they’d issued an arrest warrant for 37-year-old Tonya Hayes, of Atlanta, charging her with his murder. Hayes and another man, now identified as her 23-year-old boyfriend, were captured on surveillance video at Royal Farms off of Key Highway around the same time that Wroblewski, 41, was shot dead in back of the store. (A third, now identified as her 20-year-old son, was also with them, police say.)

Police spokesman T.J. Smith said police had learned Hayes’ identity through “multiple tips” received after they released the above surveillance footage.

Within two hours, police were informed Hayes was in custody 700 miles away. Smith initially said both of the other men were in custody, but backtracked within an hour, saying Hayes and her boyfriend — but not her son — had been arrested. Authorities were “closing in on him,” he added.

Wroblewski was a bartender at The Rowhouse Grille in Federal Hill. His employer released a statement yesterday say the “Rowhouse family is heartbroken.” The message referred to him affectionately by his nickname.

“Albo was beloved here, and all through South Baltimore and for great reason. We love and will miss you, dear friend,” it said.

Smith shared some new details about the grisly murder on Wednesday. While police had already known the suspects followed Wroblewski out of the store at around 1:15 a.m. Tuesday morning, Smith said they also learned that one of them had grabbed an item out of a silver Chevy Cruze before attempting to rob him, and that Hayes had followed the two men in the car.

Facing a robbery at gunpoint, Wroblewski refused to hand over any property, according to police. “A brief struggle ensued, and that’s when at least one shot was fired, striking Alex, where he later succumbed to his injuries early yesterday morning,” Smith said.

Hayes’ boyfriend, not her, fired the gun, Smith said, but “she certainly didn’t pick up the phone and call 911, she didn’t bring them to a police station, she hasn’t called us to tell us, ‘This is what happened, and I didn’t have anything to do with this.’”

Hayes has connections to Virginia and Baltimore, and is believed to be originally from here, Smith said.

Wroblewski’s murder shocked many, in part because the neighborhood where he was killed has rapidly turned into a higher-end section of Locust Point. Right behind the Royal Farms store sits the Anthem House, a $100 million luxury apartment building that opened four months ago. Nearby are the bustling, semi-high-end Southside Marketplace shopping center and the growing McHenry Row center.

A memorial to Wrobleski near the Royal Farms grew by the hour yesterday, WJZ reports. Friends said he was a known figure in South Baltimore who had promised to fight back if confronted as part of what neighbors say is an uptick in violent crime.

He was Baltimore’s 308th homicide of 2017, according to The Sun.

This story has been updated and corrected. Police originally said all three suspects had been arrested, but later said that was an error and only two of the three suspects were apprehended.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Associate Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan is Baltimore Fishbowl's associate editor. He previously covered Baltimore-area news as a web producer for Fox45/WBFF-TV. Before arriving in Baltimore, he worked as an assistant editor for CQ Researcher in Washington D.C., and a reporter for Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. Look for his freelance bylines in Baltimore City Paper and DCist.
Ethan McLeod
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