COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Richland County Sheriff's Department says three teens have been arrested in a crime spree that was escalating from a delivery robbery to armed robberies to a near sexual assault. And the victims were targeted because of their race, according to Sheriff Leon Lott.
"This was a crime spree. They would not have stopped," Lott said. "They made a statement that they did not like white people and they were only going to rob white people."
Lott says the two suspects, 17-year-old Raquan Green and a 15-year-old whose name has not been released, were arrested Wednesday. The third suspect, a 15-year-old boy, was taken into custody at his home on Walcott Street. Lott says the trio used racism to pick their victims.
The third suspect resisted arrest and injured an RSCD investigator in the process. The investigator had to be hospitalized with a leg injury and is expected to be OK. The suspect is now being charged with assault on a police officer while resisting arrest. Sheriff Lott says that should the investigator require surgery or an extensive hospital stay, charges may be upgraded.
"Between July 3 and July 26 there have been seven separate incidents of armed robberies, some to include carjacking and kidnapping along the Bluff /Shop Road Corridor," Lott said. "Investigators discovered that the suspects began targeting delivery drivers by committing armed robberies. The crimes then escalated to carjacking and kidnapping victims."
The crime spree started on July 3 when a food delivery driver was robbed. Two more incidents of food delivery robberies happened on July 15 and July 17. On July 19, a food delivery driver was robbed and forced to drive to an ATM and withdraw money.
All the incidents happened late at night where delivery drivers were targeted and students were moving into student housing or leaving apartments in the area. The suspects stole cash, cell phones, and various electronics.
The timeline of incidents include:
- 7/3 – 11:30 p.m. Delivery driver from China Wing Basket robbed at gunpoint on the 100 block of Aster Circle
- 7/15- 7:50 p.m. Delivery driver from Teapot Chinese Restaurant was robbed at gunpoint at 1051 Southern, the Village at Columbia Apartments
- 7/17- 7:13 p.m. Delivery Driver was robbed and assaulted at 1612 Bentley Court
- 7/19 -11:40 p.m. Delivery Driver Kidnapped and Abducted at 1050 Southern Drive (Village at Columbia Apartments)
- 07/25- 1:30 a.m. the victim was kidnapped and abducted at 112 Silo Ct – Stadium Suites
- 07/25 -2:00 a.m. the victim was robbed, carjacked and kidnapped at Stadium Suites (Involved third suspect)
- 7/26 -1:15 a.m. the victim was robbed and kidnapped at 1050 Southern Drive, (Village at Columbia Apartments) (Involved the third suspect)
Lott says one of the victims, who was African American, was released from the suspects when they found out she was not white.
Green appeared in court and was given $40,000 bond during his first court appearance Thursday. He also appeared in a second bond hearing on Friday on an additional weapons possession charge and given a $35,000 bond. He remains jailed at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center as of Friday night.
Jordan, the only victim who spoke at the press conference, said she was returning home to her apartment at The Village Apartments on Southern Drive from work on July 26 around 12:15 a.m. when a group of three black males pushed her to the ground and placed a gun to her head.
The report says the men threatened to kill her unless she drove them to a nearby ATM. She complied, the report said, and withdrew $300 from her account.
It was at that point, according to the incident report, one of the men told the victim she was going to be used for sex at his "auntie's" house, but the victim found a way to escape by jumping out of her moving vehicle on Blair Road.
Because of her actions, the sheriff's department has nicknamed Jordan "James Bond."
Deputies responded to the scene and located the victim's empty car. The K9 unit was brought out to search for the suspects, but they were not found.
Another similar incident happened at Stadium Suites where a 20-year-old victim said he and his roommate were returning home one night this past weekend when they were approached by three males with guns. The two were then driven to an ATM at gunpoint and asked to provide $500. The victim says the suspects were only able to obtain $600 before abandoning the two in a nearby parking lot.
A different student who lives at Oaks 21 Apartments, said she believes she came close to something similar when a stranger attempted to open her car door while she was sitting inside.
A statement released via a spokesperson from Stadium Suites' parent company, JMG Realty, says are extremely concerned about these recent crimes.
"We are cooperating fully with authorities, and have informed our residents via email and through our resident portal, of the recent crimes that have been reported to us," the statement said. "We will continue to keep our residents informed as we learn of developments or warnings from the local authorities. The safety and welfare of our residents are our top priority."
The University of South Carolina has released a statement, saying:
If you have any information about this incident, you are urged to contact Crimestoppers in any of the following ways: Call 1-888-CRIME SC (888-274-6372), Text TIPSC plus your tip info to CRIMES (274637), visit www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and email a tip. Your identity will be kept anonymous, and if your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.