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Black Friday Purse Snatchers, Robbery Suspects Caught

9:52 AM, Dec 16, 2013   |    comments
  • 17-year-old Leon Howard III charged with strong armed robbery and armed robbery.
  • 18-year-old Donald Carswell charged with strong armed robbery, attempted robbery, armed robbery, and three counts of petit larceny.
  • 17-year-old Joshua Rhode charged with armed robbery, two counts of strong armed robbery, four counts of larceny, unlawful carry of a weapon, possession of narcotics, and driving under suspension.
  • 17-year-old Wyatt Williams Jr. charged with unlawful carry of a weapon and two counts of larceny.
    
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Four teenagers were arrested and charged with robbery during the Black Friday shopping season.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced the arrests of 17-year-old Leon Howard III, 17-year-old Joshua Rhode, 17-year-old Wyatt Williams Jr., and 18-year-old Donald Carswell.

Sheriff Lott stated that on Friday, December 6, 2013, Richland County Sheriff's Deputies were on a special assignment to apprehend these suspects when they spotted a vehicle that fit the description described at previous larcenies by witnesses.

A deputy pulled them over and saw a gun in plain view inside the vehicle. Investigators say information provided by forensic science, interviews of witnesses and victims, and video surveillance equipment led to the arrest of Rhode and Williams.

Lott added that additional information provided by the suspects led Investigators to Howard.

Leon Howard III  is charged with strong armed robbery and armed robbery.

Joshua Rhode is charged with armed robbery, two counts of strong armed robbery, four counts of larceny, unlawful carry of a weapon, possession of narcotics, and driving under suspension.

Wyatt Williams Jr. is charged with unlawful carry of a weapon and two counts of larceny.

Donald Carswell is charged with strong armed robbery, attempted robbery, armed robbery, and three counts of petit larceny.

Acording to Sheriff Lott, Howard, Rhode, Carswell, and Williams took part in all or some of the following crimes:

• Friday December 6, 2013 - Sandy Haven Drive, Columbia 29229 the victim was robbed at gunpoint while walking to the store; suspects stole cash and the victim's prescription pills.

• Saturday, November 30, 2013 - 10136 Two Notch Road, Columbia 29229 while walking in the parking lot of Ross Department store the suspects attempted to steal the victim's purse. The suspect reached through the passenger window (black SUV) and tried to grab the victim's purse knocking her to the ground. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that the victim was able to retain her purse during this crime.    

• Friday November 29, 2013 - 10136 Two Notch Road, Columbia 29229 while walking in the parking lot of Kohl's Department store the victim's purse was stolen off her shoulder by the passenger of the vehicle (black SUV) as the suspects drove by. The victim's Tinganello shoulder purse was stolen along with, her identification, cash, and various credit cards.

• Wednesday November 27, 2013 - 10060 Two Notch Road, Columbia 29223 the victim's purse was stolen from her shopping cart as she was loading groceries into her vehicle. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that the suspects drove (black SUV) up beside the victim and stole her purse containing cash, various credit cards, identification, wallet, and glasses.

• Tuesday November 26, 2013 - 10136 Two Notch Road, Columbia 29229 the victim's purse was stolen from her shopping cart at Kroger as she was loading groceries into her vehicle. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that the suspects drove (black SUV) up beside the victim and stole her purse containing a Droid cell phone, sunglasses, Sony MP3 player, and a wallet containing various credit cards.

• Monday November 25, 2013 - 10136 Two Notch Road, Columbia 29229 the victim's purse was stolen from her shopping cart at Kroger as she was loading groceries into her vehicle. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that the suspects drove (black SUV) up beside the victim and stole her purse containing her, drivers' license, and military identification.

• Monday November 25, 2013 - 120 Forum Drive the victim's purse was stolen from her shopping cart at Bi-Lo as she was loading groceries into her vehicle. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that the suspects drove (black SUV) up beside the victim and stole her purse containing various credit cards and her drivers' license.

The Sheriff commends the citizens for providing valuable information which aided in the apprehension of Howard, Rhode, Carswell, and Williams.

Sheriff Leon Lott stresses that we have to remain vigilant and aware of our surroundings during this holiday shopping season, and everyday for that fact.

For holiday season safety tips, you can visit the Richland County Sheriff's Department website, or their Facebook page.

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