Police in Rock Hill and Lancaster believe a month-long violent crime spree has come to an end.
Tiffany Mayhew, 32, and Christopher Washington, 36, of Kannapolis, were arrested Wednesday. They're charged with two counts of armed robbery, criminal conspiracy, and kidnapping. They're believed to be responsible for four armed robberies at payday loan businesses.
The latest armed robbery happened just before 1 p.m. Wednesday on South Cherry Road in Rock Hill. Police said Washington walked into a payday loan business, flashed a gun, then robbed the place and tied up the clerk with zip ties.
That's nearly identical to what happened in three other recent crimes. Another Cherry Road check-cashing store was hit last week, and two were robbed in Lancaster, one on North Main Street, and an earlier crime on the Highway 9 bypass.
Police said in each case they believe Washington went in alone with a gun, while Mayhew waited outside in an SUV.
Business owners are praising police for how the suspects were caught Wednesday.
"I say, thumbs up for the Rock Hill police," said Mischelle Barnes, who runs a hair salon next door to where Wednesday's robbery happened.
Police said a detective who had been working on the earlier armed robbery from last week happened to be driving down Cherry Road when he heard the call for the armed robbery a few blocks away. He recognized the green SUV that he'd been looking for, and made the traffic stop along with several other patrol officers.
"Sometimes good police work is just really good luck," said Executive Officer Mark Bollinger. "The check-cashing places, they've kind of been on edge since last week. Now they can breathe a little easier."
Channel 9 was there as forensic units looked over the green SUV registered in Kannapolis. Police believe it's the same vehicle seen at all four armed robberies.
Barnes was working at her salon when she saw more than a dozen police cruisers pull into the parking lot outside her shop. Hearing about the armed robbery so close to her, she's already changing the way she does business.
"When I saw that I went to the door and I took my coworker and I said 'From now on, the door is locked,'" she said.
The black handgun that Rock Hill police recovered from the SUV was a BB pistol.
Washington and Mayhew are expected to have bond hearings Thursday.