3 teens arrested in string of armed robberies, kidnappings targeted at white USC students
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) -- A third arrest has been made in connection with a string of robberies and kidnapping targeting Columbia-area college students.
A 15-year-old juvenile was arrested Friday morning, according to Sgt. Brittany Jackimonis of the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
Dating back to July 3, Sheriff Leon Lott says there have been seven separate incidents of armed robberies including carjacking and kidnapping along Bluff and Shop Road.
Another 15-year-old juvenile and 17-year-old Raquan Green are accused in a series of crimes Lott says are racially motivated.
Green was charged with possession of a firearm during a violent crime. A judge set his bond at $35,000. On top of the $40,000 bond set Thursday for armed robbery and kidnapping putting his total bond at $75,000.
Initially, the three teens targeted delivery drivers late at night before they began targeting college students who lived in off-campus housing that was moving items to or from their homes.
Cash, electronics and various electronics were stolen during the crime spree.
One of the victims of the kidnapping and armed robberies spoke during the press conference.
Jordan shared her tragic experience of the night she returned home from work to her apartment at The Village Apartments.
Jordan who deputies nicknamed ‘James Bond’ spoke out on the night three men approached her at gun point, pushed her to the ground and threatened to kill her.
She stated the three men attempted to carjack her before they realized her car was a manual. They then forced her to get into her car and drive to a local gas station to an ATM to withdraw money. She stated while at the ATM she took off her seatbelt which was the key to her escape plan.
During the ride back towards her apartment Jordan says she made a brave move to jump out of her moving vehicle.
Jordan says after the men threatened to sexually assault her, she put her car in neutral and jumped out and ran toward the gas station she had just left from, only receiving a few scratches and bruises from the jump.
The brave woman held back tears as she explained that this experience hit close to home as her mom escaped from being sexually assaulted when she was a college student.
"I'm lucky," said Jordan. “All I could think about was my mom,” she voiced through her tears and cracked voice.
The criminal justice major says that she hopes this experience helps her in her career.
"I am a criminal justice major. I wanted to prove to myself that I could get out of this & be successful in my career."
A very similar incident happened with two male USC students.
According to TheDailyGamecock, two male USC students were kidnapped and robbed outside a Stadium Suites apartment Tuesday morning.
A report from the Richland County Sheriff's Department indicated that the two students were moving into the apartment around 2 a.m. Tuesday when "three black male subjects" approached them.
The report states two of the man were armed with handguns and told the students to get in the student's car and drive them to the Shell gas station on the corner of Bluff Road and S. Beltline Boulevard.
Once at the gas station the students withdrew an unknown amount of cash from the ATM. The subjects then took the students to an area somewhere off Zion Avenue where they took the student's television and video game system from the car.
The subjects then took the students back to Stadium Suites where they picked up a Jeep belonging to the second student and drove to an area near Jim Hamilton Airfield where they told the students to remove their clothes. They then left in the students' cars leaving their clothes behind the report says.
The two subjects also took others items including the victim's cell phones, golf clubs, game controllers and several pairs of shoes.
Sheriff Leon Lott stated that the motive behind the robberies was racial as the suspects said they “hate white people” during the robberies.
Sheriff Lott stated that the seven incidents include:
• 7/3 – 11:30pm Delivery driver from China Wing Basket robbed at gunpoint on the 100 block of Aster Circle
• 7/15- 7:50pm Delivery driver from Teapot Chinese Restaurant was robbed at gunpoint at 1051 Southern, the Village at Columbia Apartments
• 7/17- 7:13pm Delivery Driver was robbed and assaulted at 1612 Bentley Court
• 7/19 -11:40pm Delivery Driver Kidnapped and Abducted at 1050 Southern Drive (Village at Columbia Apartments)
• 07/25- 1:30am the victim was kidnapped and abducted at 112 Silo Ct – Stadium Suites
• 07/25 -2:00am the victim was robbed, carjacked and kidnapped at Stadium Suites
• 7/26 -1:15am the victim was robbed and kidnapped at 1050 Southern Drive, (Village at Columbia Apartments)
The 15-year-old who was arrested on Friday is now facing eight charges including three counts of armed robbery, three counts of kidnapping, one count of attempted murder and assault on a police officer while resisting arrest.
As investigators were interviewing the 15-year-old and securing him to be transported to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, the teenager assaulted a RCSD investigators sending him to the hospital with non-life threatening but a significant leg injury.
In lieu of the recent crimes the Richland County Sheriff's Department are p ushing for safety awareness.
"Always being alert and viligent. If you do see any suspicious people or suspicious vehicles make sure you call law enforcement.."
Deputies say there are several ways to decrease your risk of being a target for a crime. Being aware of your surroundings and avoiding distractions such as texting while walking are key.
"Either people are fumbling with their keys, their texting walking around at the same time. those are the kind of things you don't want to do. You always want to keep your attention on the task at hand." said deputy Shanita.
"If it is going to be later in the evening sometimes asking a friend or someone to you know accompany you. If for any reason you get to a location and you don't feel safe or you feel like you do need somebody there you can always call for law enforcment and we can be in that parking lot or area as you're arriving." says deputy Jordan.
The Richland County Sheriff's Department also offers free self-defense classes for women and encourage people to stay informed and report any suspicious activity.