Orange authorities arrest two in Highway 70 ABC Robbery

20-year-old Durham residents Jamel Williams (left) and Trevon Ward (right) were taken into custody Wednesday by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in relation to the July 17 robbery at the Mebane ABC Store along U.S. Highway 70. Williams and Ward allegedly plotted with another Durham resident, Bradford Perry, Jr., to rob the store at gunpoint. As they fled the scene the suspects were chased by an eyewitness and eventually the North Carolina Highway Patrol. A collision resulted in Williams and Ward escaping on foot, while Bradford, driving a Chevrolet Malibu, got away before being arrested two days later. Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood confirmed that the local authorities have all three suspects believed to have taken part in the crime. 

Orange County authorities have brought into custody two suspects in the July 17 robbery at the Mebane ABC Store along U.S. Highway 70, bringing the total number of apprehended suspects in the case to three individuals. 

The Orange County Sheriff's Office confirmed Wednesday, August 7 that they have placed into custody two 20-year-olds from Durham in connection with the robbery last month of the Mebane ABC Store. A third Durham man, Bradford Perry Jr., was arrested two days after the crime and remains in the Orange County Detention Center awaiting trial.

Jamel Williams and Trevon Ward, both of Durham, were each charged with three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts second degree kidnapping, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, and one count possession of a firearm by a felon. Williams was arrested in the late morning hours of August 7, while Ward’s arrest came a few hours later. Both men were scheduled to have a first appearance in Orange County Court in Hillsborough on Thursday, August 8 at 2:00 p.m..

“We are pleased to have arrested all three individuals involved in this crime. This was a very dangerous situation and we are grateful for the assistance of the Durham Police Department. Such partnerships essentially extend the borders of our county and allow us to work together to make both communities safer," Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said. 

Williams and Ward allegedly joined forces with Perry to commit the mid-July robbery. Williams and Ward allegedly entered the ABC Store just before 9:00 p.m. on the evening of July 17, while Perry served as the getaway driver. Each man had a handgun. Both men who entered the store were wearing black hoodies, dark pants, sunglasses, gloves, and ski masks.  They held the store cashier and one customer in the store at the time of the robbery at gunpoint. The customer was robbed of his wallet, while the thieves also left with the money from the cash register and two bottles of liquor. 

The men attempted to flee shortly after the robbery in a Chevrolet Malibu, but they were chased by someone who had seen the men run out of the store and pursued them in their vehicle. Local police and the North Carolina Highway Patrol was quickly made aware of the robbery and soon caught up with the suspects as they attempted to get away along Highway 70. There was a collision with the suspects and a Highway Patrol cruiser, leading to Williams and Ward jumping out of the car and fleeing into the woods. The trooper was not injured. 

Dashboard camera footage from the cruiser revealed two suspects jumping from the suspect vehicle and leaving the area on foot; a third individual was able to drive away. Prior to the review of the video, authorities thought only two men were involved in the robbery.

Using information from the vehicle tag, authorities were able to learn that Perry had access to the vehicle at the time of the robbery. The vehicle was later located not far from his residence. Investigators were able to use evidence in the vehicle and review of video from the ABC store to confirm his identity. That footage shows Perry entering the ABC store just prior to the robbery and purchasing mini bottles of alcohol. He then went outside to wait in the car while Williams and Ward allegedly went in and committed the robbery.

Perry was arrested two days after the robbery on three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts second degree kidnapping, and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. In addition, Perry faces multiple traffic charges taken out by the North Carolina Highway Patrol, including felony flee to elude for traffic violations he committed while driving the Malibu during the high speed chase.

Following Perry’s arrest, investigators were able to use additional evidence in the vehicle and information gathered from Crimestoppers to identify the other two suspects. 

Williams and Ward are in the Orange County Detention Center. Each is under a $150,000 secured bond for the three counts of robbery, a $150,000 secured bond for the kidnapping and conspiracy charges, and $10,000 secured for the possession of a firearm by a felon charge. Williams received another $10,000 secured bond for a separate firearm by a felon charge he has pending in Durham.

Sergeant Jeff Ray is the lead investigator on the case. Anyone with information is asked to call him at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at (919) 245-2975.