Two Panola County Men Charged With Oakland Robberies
Two Panola County men were arrested
Thursday in connection with a pair of armed robberies at two Oakland
Oakland Police Chief Russ Smith
reported Joshua Hines, 20, and Riccardo Javier Hankins, 18, both of Courtland,
were taken into custody following an intense investigation with help from the
Panola County Sheriff’s Department, the Yalobusha County Sheriff's Department and the Mississippi Highway Patrol's Crime Scene Unit.
The first robbery occurred in
January, when two armed men entered the Shell Oakland Express brandishing
pistols and demanding money. The men took their time as they looted the
business, leaving with money and other items. Two customers entered the
business during the holdup and were also robbed. Although the store had
extensive surveillance video, both men had their faces covered during the
frigid night and authorities were unable to get any solid leads.
The break in their case came early
Monday morning, after the Exxon Gas Mart was robbed at gunpoint just after 3
a.m. Although the lone gunman was covered, Smith said the surveillance video
captured a clear image of a man eight minutes before the robbery who appeared
to be casing the business. Smith told the Herald he believed the image of the
man appeared to match the description of one of the suspects in the January
holdup. Smith also said the cameras captured an identical car in both
robberies, making a strong case that the robberies were related.
Using their best lead from both
cases, the Oakland Police Department circulated the picture from Monday’s armed
robbery, sending the image to Tupelo and Memphis television stations and the
newspapers in Charleston, Water Valley and Batesville.
“We felt like someone would
recognize him,” Smith told the Herald.
Both readers from the Panolian
newspaper in Batesville and viewers from the news stations called the police
department reporting that the picture looked like Hankins. Smith said family
members of Hankins also reported a possible match.
Hankins turned himself in to
authorities this morning at 11 a.m. with his attorney, Stan Little of Desoto
County, at his side. He has been charged with two counts of conspiracy and two
counts of armed robbery. His bond has been set at $50,000. Hines was
apprehended at his residence located on Ruby Road in Courtland Thursday
“We went to Hines’ employer in
Batesville Thursday afternoon and he had clocked out and left four minutes before we arrived,”
Smith said. However a Panola County investigator was able to take him into
custody shortly after he arrived at the residence on Ruby Road when he returned
Hines was charged with four counts
of aggravated assault and four counts of armed robbery and two counts of
conspiracy. His bond has been set at a half a million dollars.
Smith said evidence was recovered
at Hines’ residence also will be used to link the men to the crime.
Smith said that Hankins was the
alleged driver in the robberies, while Hines was the alleged gunman, which
accounted for the additional charges. The four counts against Hines stem from
the clerk and two customers robbed in January and the clerk robbed on Monday.
Smith also said a third man wanted
in connection with the January robbery is still at large.
“I want to thank the Panola County
sheriff’s department for the help in this investigation,” Smith told the
Herald. Smith also expressed gratitude for help from the Yalobusha Sheriff's Department and the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s crime scene unit.
“We put a lot of hours in this case. We needed to get these
guys behind bars.”