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Local robber shot after bank heist

HALIFAX – The rash of recent armed robberies of Murfreesboro and Ahoskie businesses may be solved.

On Thursday, Halifax County law enforcement officials took one suspect into custody and shot another following an armed robbery of Southern Bank in Scotland Neck.

Derek Vaughan, 29, of Winton was arrested and charged with armed robbery. He is in the Halifax County Jail under a $100,000 bond.

His alleged accomplice, Henderson Hinton of Murfreesboro, was shot by a Halifax County deputy following a chase of the suspect vehicle. The shooting occurred in the town of Halifax where the chase ended.

Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh and Murfreesboro Police Chief Darryl Rowe both said they feel confident that the two bank robbery suspects are the same ones involved in recent armed heists within their respective towns.

“We haven’t charged anyone as of yet, but we’re very close to wrapping up this case on our end,” Fitzhugh said.

The Ahoskie Chief was making reference to a pair of armed robberies in his town. On Oct. 12, a lone gunman robbed Rent-A-Center at the corner of Memorial Drive and Catherine Creek Road. Four days later (Monday, Oct. 16), a person matching the same description of the Rent-A-Center heist walked into the office of Nationwide Insurance on Church Street, brandished a handgun and demanded money.

No one was injured in either Ahoskie robbery.

“The MO (Modus Operandi) is consistent in all the robberies, including the bank in Scotland Neck, and the suspect description is the same,” Fitzhugh noted.

Meanwhile, Rowe, joined by Murfreesboro Police Lt. Joe Burgess, traveled to Halifax on Thursday night to share and gain information concerning the two suspects.

“We feel very strongly that these are the same two men we are after,” said Rowe, making reference to the Oct. 9 armed robbery of Jenkins-Brown Insurance Agency on Main Street in Murfreesboro. “The MO is the same.”

As in the Ahoskie robberies, no one was injured in the Murfreesboro heist.

Rowe said he was very familiar with Hinton.

“He was a suspect in the 2003 armed robbery of Southern Bank here in Murfreesboro,” Rowe said. “We never developed enough information to charge him with that crime, but Mr. Hinton was later arrested for robbing a bank in Pitt County that same year.”

Rowe said Hinton was released from prison in February of this year for the Pitt County robbery.

In regards to bank heists, Chief Fitzhugh said Hinton and Vaughan had been ruled out as suspects in the Aug. 2 armed robbery of RBC Centura Bank in Ahoskie.

Thursday’s chain of events involving the suspects apparently began in Rocky Mount. There, Bennett Insurance Services was robbed by a lone gunman around 12 noon. A dark colored Acura, occupied by a second suspect, was seen leaving the scene of that robbery.

The Scotland Neck Southern Bank robbery occurred shortly before 3 p.m. on Thursday. As in the Rocky Mount crime, a dark colored Acura was spotted leaving the scene of that heist.

While en route to Scotland Neck, a Halifax County law enforcement officer reportedly met the suspect vehicle traveling on NC 125. That officer turned and pursued the vehicle, a chase that ended in Halifax with Vaughan’s arrest and Hinton suffering a gunshot wound.

Hinton was taken to Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville where his condition is unknown. A warrant for armed robbery awaits Hinton.