Charlotte man charged in robbery of Loomis armored vehicle in Maryland

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte man was one of three men charged in connection with an armed robbery of an armored vehicle in Maryland Jan. 22 in which thieves took off with more than $1.3 million.

Orneth Patrick South, 48, of Charlotte, Ryan Shevin Smith, 38, of Princess Anne, Maryland and Michael Watts, 42, of Brooklyn, New York, were arrested.

According to the charging documents, on the morning of Jan. 22, police responded to the armed robbery of a Loomis Armored vehicle that was parked at a branch of State Employees’ Credit Union in Salisbury, Maryland.

The Loomis vehicle driver was servicing an automated teller machine at the location when three men approached him and demanded money from the ATM as well as the armored vehicle, officials said.

The driver was disarmed of his service handgun and restrained.

The suspects face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the robbery and up to life in prison for the firearm charge.

On April 20, Channel 9 learned that a heavy police presence outside a home in west Charlotte was connected to an FBI operation.

Channel 9 reporter Gina Esposito was on the scene of a CATS bus crash on West Boulevard when she noticed several law enforcement vehicles, including an armored truck, drive past her.

Channel 9 followed the authorities a short distance to Fordham Road, where officials could be seen walking around in armored vests with their guns out.

Moments later, a loud bang was heard, and it sounded like the front door of the house had been broken down.

The FBI confirmed that they were conducting an investigation but did not elaborate at the time.

A spokesperson for the agency told Channel 9 that someone was taken into custody by the FBI SWAT team, but said the arrest was made by another FBI office in a different state.

Channel 9 saw agents going in and out of the home, carrying bags and clipboards.

A neighbor told Channel 9 she heard the loud bang as well and when she looked out her window to see what was happening, she saw officers with guns. She immediately hid her children to keep them safe and told Channel 9 she saw a man being brought out of the home in handcuffs.

Channel 9 saw FBI agents searching underneath the home, as well as a shed in the backyard and vehicles in the driveway.