Man charged with several Durham robberies

Jan. 02, 2014 @ 08:58 PM

A woman was getting into her car on Foster Street Thursday morning when a man climbed into the passenger side, grabbed her purse, punched her twice in the face and ran.

The victim screamed and honked her horn repeatedly. The thief dropped her purse and fled while several witnesses called 911 and tried chasing him without success.

Durham police K-9 officers and their dogs tracked the suspect to the vicinity of Fernway Avenue and Liggett Street.

Brandon Russell, 41, of no known address, was arrested and charged with common-law robbery and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Investigators also served Russell with warrants in connection with other robbery cases, including:

-- Robberies on Dec. 14 and 16 at the Dollar General store on 2000 Chapel Hill Road. In the first incident, Russell is accused of grabbing money from a cash register and punching the clerk. In the second, he allegedly approached the register, showed what appeared to be a gun in his waistband and grabbed money from the register.

-- Robberies on Dec. 28 and 29 at the BP convenience store at 2685 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard. In the first incident, a woman got into her car when Russell allegedly tried to get in, damaging the car, and snatched her purse before fleeing. He is accused of grabbing money from the cash register the next day.

-- A robbery on Dec. 28 at the Kangaroo Express at 3223 NC Highway 55. Russell is accused of threatening the clerk and grabbing the cash register.

-- The New Year’s Eve robbery of Cruizers at 3446 Hillsborough Road. Russell allegedly walked into the store, threatened to shoot a clerk and grabbed money from the register.

That last robbery proved to be his undoing, police said, because he left his wallet on the counter when he fled. His wallet contained his name and photo identification, according to Kammie Michael, police spokeswoman.

Russell faces charges including common-law robbery, assault inflicting serious injury, robbery with a dangerous weapon and communicating threats.

He was held in the Durham County Jail under $5 million bond.

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