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Ex-Officer Gets 2.5 Years In Bank Break-In

Greenbelt, Md. (AP)- A former Prince George's County police officer has been sentenced to 21/2 years in prison for orchestrating a bank break-in.

A federal judge sentenced 42-year-old Eddie Smith Jr. of Fort Washington on Monday and ordered him to pay more than $10,000 in restitution. Smith pleaded guilty in July to breaking into a Temple Hills SunTrust bank last year.

According to his plea agreement, Smith drove 54-year-old Earl Blake of Capitol Heights to the bank in his cruiser, then gave him tools and instructions on how to cut open an ATM safe. Firefighters responded to the bank after receiving an alarm and saw Blake inside. Blake fled and Smith ran around the bank as though he were pursuing him, but then fled himself.

Blake was sentenced to five months in prison.

Maryland Cell Phone Ban Begins

Maryland residents and those residents who travel through Maryland need to know that on Friday, October 1, 2010 (this Friday) - cell phone use will become illegal while driving. The offense will be a "secondary" offense, meaning that offenders can only be cited with it if they are pulled over for another primary offense like speeding or running a red light.

Beginning on Friday, people who wish to make a call while driving MUST use a hands free device. The fine will be $40 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent violations of the law.

Texting while driving has been illegal for some time now and already carries a fine.

Maryland is following suit with several other states with cellular phone bans while in operation of a motor vehicle, but it is one of the only (if not the only) state to list the law as a "secondary" offense.