BLACK ROBBERS PULL OFF $9.8 MILLION ARMORED CAR HEIST:
On May 11, 2007, at about midnight, deputies in Columbia, S.C. say an armored car pulled over at a gas station to refuel. An armored car that just happened to be carrying about $18 million. Once the guard refueling the truck finished at the pump, he got ready to hop back into the driver's seat. Deputies say as he was re-entering the car he was struck in the face by someone with a handgun. Before he knew what was happening, the guard found himself struggling with two attackers, who overpowered him and threw him between the seats of the truck. Deputies say the attackers were Dominic La Shaun Lyde (above) 22, and Jeremy McPhail, 19. Then McPhail and Lyde allegedly forced the second guard, Darryl C. Frierson, 21, to drive.
After driving about two miles away, McPhail and Lyde had Frierson stop the car. Deputies say they were met by two other suspects at this location, Kelby Blakney, 20, and Dominique Blakney, 19. Investigators say the men proceeded to rob the truck of roughly $9.8 million.
Deputies were immediately suspicious when they learned the car had been refueling when it was robbed. Armored cars usually have plenty of fuel for their routes, and there was no reason to stop.
Sure enough, deputies say they received information early into their investigation and acted on it May 16. They found Frierson, one of the 'guards', with Dominique Blakney, one of the robbers. Deputies say the two men implicated themselves and the others involved in the heist, and it didn't take long for deputies to make three more arrests. Darryl C. Frierson, Dominique D. Blakney, Kelby D. Blakney, and Jeremy M. Mcphail are being held on charges of armed robbery, kidnapping, and assault and battery. Paul J. Whitaker, 21, another employee with the armored car service, was not at the scene of the crime but has been arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. But, deputies say they still haven't been able to find their sixth suspect involved in the actual heist, Dominic La Shaun Lyde.
Police believe Lyde is either in Baltimore, where he has family, or could be staying close to home, in North or South Carolina. Deputies also say that Lyde has spent a lot of time at strip clubs, throwing large amounts of cash around and buying himself a place to stay for a while, in the homes of the strippers.
Police say they're also looking for Derrick Shawnte Benjamin (above) who they believe made off with at least $1 million of the stolen money. Detectives think Benjamin is staying very close to home, in South Carolina, possibly getting help to stay on the run from family and friends.
So what do seven guys, six of whom are between the ages 19 and 22, do with nearly $10 million after a major armored car heist?
Deputies say they bought shoes, cars, tattoos, and went to strip clubs. Dominic Lyde bought expensive rims he was planning to mount on an old Monte Carlo. And since the crime happened Mother's Day weekend, some of the suspects bought their mom's presents.
Deputies say Dominique Blakney, Frierson, and Whitaker are all students at Benedict College.