Police charge man for shop robberies

Feb. 14, 2013 @ 07:02 PM

A Durham man who was briefly famous in 2002 after he was charged with murder and then mistakenly released from the Durham County Jail has been charged with the armed robberies of three Durham shops.

Bernic Lee Alston-Currie, 28, was charged with multiple counts of armed robbery, second-degree kidnapping, assault, conspiracy, possession of a firearm by a felon and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. He was being held in the Durham County Jail under $2.5 million bond, according to police reports.

Durham police charged him for an armed robbery Jan. 26 at BP at 1251 University Dr.; an armed robbery Jan. 27 at the Town ‘n Deli at 1432 E. Lawson St.; and an armed robbery Feb. 6 at Triangle Mini Mart at 4003 Fayetteville St.

During the most recent robbery at the Mini Mart, police said two men entered the store with handguns and demanded money about 9:45 p.m. The suspects fled in a Mitsubishi sedan, and an officer spotted a Mitsubishi that matched the description of the fleeing vehicle.

Officers chased the vehicle, and two occupants fled on foot. Police stopped traffic on N.C. 147 while they looked for the suspects. They located the two men who fled but determined that none of the four people in the car was involved in the robbery at the Mini Mart.

In 2002, Alston-Currie was charged with the murder of McKinley Matthew Jones Jr., 23, of Buchanan Blvd. and held in the Durham County Jail.

His twin brother, Breon Alston-Currie, also was in the jail at the time on a common-law robbery charge, and his bond was reduced during a court hearing, allowing him to be released from the jail.

Because of a mix-up in the way the brothers’ names were written on the jail records, Bernic Alston-Currie was released instead of his brother. After the mistake was discovered, Bernic Alston-Currie, then 17, turned himself back in at the jail about nine hours after he was released.

On Sept. 24, 2002, Bernic Alston-Currie was convicted of second-degree murder. He served approximately 10 years in prison and was released in March 2012. His parole was terminated in December 2012.