A man accused of 12 recent armed robberies in the Columbia area was captured thanks to the efforts of a convenience store clerk who chased and beat the suspect with a samurai sword, law officials said today.
The bleeding suspect, identified as Brad Grayland Vinson, 52, was just one of some 25 individuals or small groups who are responsible for most of a recent crime wave of local break-ins, burglaries and armed robberies from Shandon to Blythewood, said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and interim Columbia police chief Randy Scott.
Lott and Scott appeared together at a joint news conference to announce a “new day” in city-county law enforcement relations.
Since criminals know no jurisdictional lines, the 600-deputy sheriff’s office and the 300-officer city force are going to be setting up a loose task force to focus on catching and putting behind bars the area’s worst, Scott and Lott said.
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“We’re getting killed by burglaries,” Lott said.
Vinson was treated and released at a local hospital and is now being held at the Richland County jail. Bond has been denied. He is accused of 12 store robberies and attempted robberies since Jan. 5, Lott said.
The robberies took place on Two Notch Road, Clemson Road, Hard Scrabble Road, Decker Boulevard, Sams Crossing and Parklane Road.
Vinson has a long criminal record, Lott said.
As if to underscore the local crime wave, two pistol-waving robbers held up Wild Wing Cafe, a Harbison eatery, this morning, two hours before Lott’s and Scott’s news conference. They forced an employee to open a safe, then fled on foot.