Three suspects have been charged in connection with last month’s armed robbery of a discount store, including a woman who had been reported missing from Columbia, according to Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell.
“These three have been charged with the armed robbery of a Dollar General store that happened last month,” he said. “One of the suspects was reported missing after she was last seen dropping off her kids at a daycare.”
Shakema White, 22, of Orangeburg; Porscha Hardy, 24, of Columbia; and Levond Keitt, 23, of Winnsboro, have each been charged with armed robbery while armed with a deadly weapon.
Both White and Hardy were also charged with possession of a weapon during a crime.
Ravenell said Hardy had been reported missing by her family on Dec. 19, 2018.
A press release had been generated by the Columbia Police Department in an attempt to determine not only her whereabouts, but her safety. That release was updated two days later to encourage Hardy to call her family.
“She was reportedly last seen dropping off her children at a Columbia area daycare on Dec. 15,” the sheriff said. “But we developed information that indicated she was part of the Dollar General robbery.”
Investigators say video taken during a Dec. 18, armed robbery of the Cannon Bridge Road business depicts two female suspects who were allegedly Hardy and White.
Keitt is suspected of driving a getaway car parked outside of the business.
Keitt and White were taken into custody on Wednesday following a traffic stop in Calhoun County, Ravenell said.
Around 1:30 p.m., investigators received a tip that two suspects were in a vehicle that was located by Orangeburg and Calhoun County sheriff’s investigators about a mile east of I-26 on Burke Road.
A helicopter with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division was called out after Keitt fled into a wooded area. He was apprehended after about a three-hour search.
Hardy was taken into custody by the Columbia Police Department on Thursday at a residence in their jurisdiction.
“We’d like to thank each of these agencies, SLED, Columbia Police Department, DNR and certainly the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office,” Ravenell said. “Along my own investigators, each of these agencies played a part in bringing these individuals to justice.”
More arrests and charges are possible as the investigation continues, Ravenell said.