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010419 Dollar General Porscha Hardy

Porscha Leann Hardy and two others are charged with armed robbery.

Three people, including a man charged with attempted murder, are in custody on allegations that they participated in the armed robbery of a Cordova convenience store the week before Christmas.

Two of the suspects were taken into custody Wednesday after a high-speed chase in Calhoun County. The third had been reported missing earlier in the month, and was only discovered Thursday by Columbia police.

The following are each facing one charge of armed robbery: Shameka Monique White, 22, of 430 Banashee Circle, Orangeburg; Levond Tayano Keitt, 23, of 3069 TeeVee Road, Santee; and Porscha Leann Hardy, 24, of 1211 Brighton Hill Road, Columbia.

Warrants for Hardy and White also charge them with possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

The three appeared before Magistrate Bob Lake on Thursday afternoon. He denied setting their bonds. A circuit judge may set their bonds at a later date.

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office investigators allege Hardy and White robbed a cashier at gunpoint at the Dollar General on Cannon Bridge Road. The Dec. 18 robbery was captured on video.

They also allege Keitt drove the getaway car that was parked outside of the store.

During Thursday’s bond hearing, White told the judge, “If y’all see the cameras: Me? I didn’t held no gun on nobody.”

Hardy told the court, “I just want to go see my children.”

Sheriff’s Office Lt. James Shumpert requested that the judge deny bonds on each suspect.

“The victim is a student who came out here trying to work and make it through school,” Shumpert told the court.

He said the victim has since quit her job and is undergoing counseling.

Both the victim and her father were in the courtroom.

Through a cracked, quivering voice, the father said, “Your Honor, this is my daughter, could you deny bond, please?”

It took weeks for investigators to apprehend the suspects.

On Wednesday afternoon, law enforcement received a tip about White and Keitt. Orangeburg County and Calhoun County sheriff’s office investigators spotted their vehicle about one mile east of Interstate 26 on Burke Road.

Investigators took White into custody after a brief, high-speed chase, Shumpert said. He said Keitt continued to run from officers into a wooded area.

Investigators called for the S.C. Law Enforcement Division to assist in the search with a helicopter.

About three hours later, investigators took Keitt into custody.

On Thursday morning, with the assistance of the Columbia Police Department, officers took Hardy into custody at a residence in their jurisdiction.

Hardy had been reported missing on Dec. 19. She reportedly hadn’t been seen since dropping her children off at a Columbia daycare on Dec. 15.

At the time of his arrest on Wednesday, Keitt was out on bond for the following charges from February 2017: attempted murder, first-degree burglary, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, pointing and presenting a firearm and intimidation of court officials, jurors or witnesses.

Shumpert told the court that Keitt cut off his electronic ankle monitor, which a judge required him to wear while he was out on bond.

Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell thanked the agencies that helped locate the suspects, including SLED, the Columbia Police Department, the Department of Natural Resources and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office.

“Along my own investigators, each of these agencies played a part in bringing these individuals to justice,” Ravenell said.

More arrests and charges are possible as the investigation continues, Ravenell said.

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Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD.

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Staff Writer

Martha Rose Brown covers crime and other topics. The South Carolina native has been a journalist for the past 16 years.

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