Lawmen announced this morning that nine people have been charged with two armed robberies and 16 business break-ins in two counties.
Craven County District Attorney Scott Thomas says the nine people, seven who are now in custody, would work as an informal group. He said they would team up as two or three together to commit the offenses.
Lawmen say all nine went to grade school together in Pamlico County. They are Isaiah Alston, Marvin Nichols, Marvin Blango, Demarcus Woods, Antonio Stephens, Malayna Crus, Clifford Horton III, Keith Conway and Jerramy Chandler.
Thomas said the robberies occurred at two New Bern hotels, while the business break-ins happened in Vanceboro, Oriental, River Bend, as well as other locations in Craven and Pamlico counties.
Three of the nine are charged with holding up a hotel in Raleigh as well.
Thomas said they are working with federal law enforcement officials as federal charges could be filed in several of the cases.
Raleigh police say they are working with New Bern police after they arrested four men over the weekend for a hotel robbery. Two hotels in New Bern have recently been robbed under similar circumstances.
Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue tells WITN that the Hilton Garden was robbed Saturday around 1:50 a.m. They arrested four men, three who are from Eastern Carolina for the hold-up.
Charged in the Raleigh case are 18-year-old Marvin Blango of New Bern, 19-year-old Diquan Bell of Bayboro, 18-year-old Clifford Horton III of Bayboro, and 20-year-old Demarcus Driggers of Raleigh. All have been charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and second degree kidnapping.
Law enforcement officials say the four are also suspects in at least two hotel robberies in New Bern along with multiple break-ins that occurred in River Bend, Vanceboro and Pamlico County.
Authorities here are expected to release more information on the local connection on Friday.