City, county catch armed robbery suspect

Published 5:30 pm Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A suspect has been apprehended and linked to three armed robberies, two of which occurred within the Picayune city limits of and the other in the county.

All three robberies are suspected to have been committed by the same person.

The first of the three robberies took place Thursday. That day at about 8:54 p.m. a white male walked into the Pit Stop, at 508 U.S. 11 North with his shirt pulled up to cover his face and demanded all the money in the cash register, said Picayune Police Chief Jim Luke. The clerk asked if the suspect was joking, to which he replied, “Don’t make me use this gun,” Luke read from the report.

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The suspect had one hand on his shirt and another in his pants where the victim could see a bulge protruding, Luke said. About $400 was handed to the suspect before he ran out of the door heading north along U.S. 11.

A second armed robbery took place Saturday afternoon at about 3:43 in the county at 1621 N. Beech St., also known as Logan’s One Stop #3, said Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Shane Tucker. The Sheriff’s Department received information that a white male entered the store with a T-shirt pulled over his head. With his hand in his pocket he told the clerk that he had a gun. The clerk handed the suspect the money, after which the suspect promptly left the store, Tucker said.

At about 6:17 p.m. Saturday, a white male entered Bree’s Mini Mart, at 804 U.S. 11 South. The suspect pointed a possible gun concealed in his pants pocket and told the clerk, “this is a stick up, give me all the money,” Luke read from the report.

About $290 in currency was handed over to the suspect at which time the suspect ran out of the store heading south, Luke said.

Using a physical description provided by victims, witnesses and surveillance video, the Sheriff’s Department and the Police Department determined a possible suspect, identified as Randy L. Russell, who goes by the alias “Rhino,” Luke said. Russell, 48, of 100 South Gate Dr., Carriere was found at a location on Airport Road Sunday at 1:30 a.m. and was taken into investigative custody. He was later charged with two counts of armed robbery by the Police Department.

The Sheriff’s Department plans to charge Russell with armed robbery once he is given into their custody.

“The quick apprehension of a suspect in these armed robberies was due largely in part to the partnership and working relationship with the Sheriff’s Department and the community,” Luke said. “It was a good team effort by the Sheriff’s Department and the Police Department to bring this case to a quick resolve,” Luke said.

“We really worked together to get it solved,” Tucker said.

When the law enforcement agencies in the county work together the citizens benefit, Luke said.