Trio Charged In Armored Truck Robbery

SALISBURY — A four-month investigation into the armed robbery of an armored truck and the theft of over $1 million in Salisbury in January culminated this week in the arrest of three suspects.

Around 7:15 a.m. on Jan. 22, Salisbury Police responded to the State Employee Credit Union (SECU) on Mt. Hermon Road for a reported armed robbery. The preliminary investigation revealed a male armored truck driver was robbed while filling an ATM machine at the facility and the suspects fled on foot in the direction of Route 50.

Further investigation revealed the Loomis armored truck driver arrived at SECU to fill the ATM machine with currency. While filling the machine, the driver was approached by four African-American male suspect who were all armed with handguns. The suspects immediately demanded money from the ATM and the armored truck while binding the driver’s hands. The armored truck driver was disarmed of his service handgun and was restrained.

The suspects then stole and undisclosed amount of currency and the driver’s company-issued handgun before fleeing the scene on foot. A Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit arrived and conducted a track in the area to no avail. The Maryland State Police Aviation Division also assisted in the investigation, but was unable to locate the suspects or collect any additional evidence.

For four months, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Salisbury Police Department and allied agencies continued to investigate the armed robbery and on Tuesday announced three arrests had been made. Those arrested include Orneth South, 48, of Charlotte, N.C., Ryan Smith, 38, of Princess Anne and Michael Watts, 42, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

During a press conference on Tuesday, FBI and Salisbury Police officials related how the investigation tied the three suspects to the armed robbery and how each was ultimately caught.

Each of the three defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the armed robbery and up to life in prison for the charge of using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

The charges were announced on Tuesday by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert Hur, FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Gordon Johnson of the Baltimore field office and Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan. Hur commended the FBI field offices in Baltimore, Charlotte and New York for their work in the investigation along with the Salisbury Police Department.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

Alternative Text

Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.