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Witnesses to get-away lead police to burglary, armed robbery suspect


     Minutes after a Sanders Street man was confronted by an armed burglar in his mother’s home a nearby resident was in custody, her arrest a result of witness tips and a rapid police response, Maj. Russell Conway of the Tabor City Police Department said Thursday.

     Shondia Russ, 26, of March Avenue was located in her home minutes after she ditched a recognizable work van on Leggett Street, behind her residence, Conway said.

     Charged with armed robbery, breaking and entering, larceny of a firearm, and larceny of a motor vehicle, Russ was also served with eight warrants charging her with failing to appear in court, Columbus County Detention Center records show.

     Police recovered a second stolen gun later, Conway said, with a second larceny of a firearm warrant served on her Thursday, Conway said.

     Russ was held under bonds totaling $135,000 Wednesday, with the second gun charge adding another $10,000 to her bail.

Burglary in progress

     Michael Shane Wright, who owns carpet cleaning service Absolute Cleaning, stopped by his mother’s Sanders Street home before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, encountering a burglary in progress.

     “He went into his mother’s home, Ms. Russ is inside, draws a weapon, takes his money and tells him to go to a bedroom,” Conway said. “He told her to “just go.”

     Russ is accused of taking a .357 handgun, prescription medication, and cash described as “tithe money” inside a small handbag, also taken from the home of Bonnie Wright, Conway said.

     Police, who had been in the area a short time earlier on an unrelated call, responded quickly and were aided by neighbors who called in tips.

     Russ, Conway said, apparently saw a patrol vehicle involved in the unrelated call, quickly ditched Wright’s Absolute Cleaning Ford Econoline Van and ran home, witnesses describing those events in calls to police.

     For more on this story see the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.