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Police: Md. man carjacks, crashes, leaves license and pawn receipt

Leaving behind his driver’s license likely made it easier for cops to catch a man who they said stole a Lexus from a parking lot in Rockville that had a high-priced violin inside.

The events leading to his arrest began March 1 about 5 p.m. in the parking lot outside a Barnes and Noble bookstore. Police said Michael Gainer Rothenberg, 27, of Bethesda, walked up to a woman, pulled out a gun and demanded her keys and bag. He then fled in her 2004 Lexus, they said.

Three days later, authorities said, Rothenberg robbed at gunpoint a clerk at a 7-Eleven store in Glen Echo.

And Monday, he robbed a gas station in Howard County and fled the scene in the stolen Lexus, police said. He then tried to carjack a woman in a red Mini Cooper to get away, Howard police said.

Detectives in Howard County said they found a telling clue – Rothenberg’s driver’s license, which they said he left in the stolen Lexus. And they said he left a receipt showing a musical instrument had been sold to a pawn shop.

On Monday, Rothenberg was arrested in Frederick. He faces several charges, including armed carjacking and armed robbery.

NBC 4, which was the first to report on the incident, said the violin that was inside the stolen Lexus was worth $6,000 and made in 1891 in France. The victim said she was on her way to a music lesson when she was carjacked.

A Montgomery County police detective said the violin had been sold to a pawn shop for $200.

Police said the victim’s violin has since been returned to her.