TURKEY — Two people are in custody following an armed robbery Wednesday at the small U.S. Post Office in eastern Sampson.
At 2:10 p.m. Wednesday, Sampson County Sheriff’s authorities responded to a report of robbery at the post office, located at 54 Union Road, just off N.C. 24. Upon arrival, officers spoke with a postal employee, who said an unknown black male entered the Post Office, brandished a firearm and demanded money. The postal employee complied with the suspect’s demands and he fled the store with a “small amount of currency,” authorities said.
Through investigation, officers were able to obtain descriptions of the vehicle and the driver. Approximately one hour after the investigation began, officers spotted the suspect vehicle drive by the crime scene.
Officers conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and took the driver, Samantha Michelle Eliason, 29, of 323 John William Evans Road, Magnolia, into custody. Eliason was charged with conspiring to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, accessory after the fact and no operator’s license.
No other occupants were inside the vehicle during the traffic stop and the armed robbery suspect was not immediately located. Officers identified David Christopher Stuart, 31, listed as being of the same Magnolia address, as the armed robbery suspect and filed warrants against him for robbery with a dangerous weapon.
The suspect was considered “armed and dangerous,” sheriff’s officials said at the time.
Late Thursday evening, Stuart turned himself in to authorities. He was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, as well as conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of firearm by a felon.
Eliason has a history of criminal convictions in Sampson County, and her probationary status is currently listed as “active.” She was convicted a few weeks ago in Sampson of driving while license revoked, receiving a suspended sentence and a year’s probation, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety database. Prior to that, she was convicted of several charges, including felony larceny, simple assault, communicating threats and trespassing, court records show.
Stuart has a number of past convictions, including drug and breaking and entering offenses, according to the NCDPS.
Stuart was placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under $150,000 secured bond for the robbery and firearm charges. Eliason received $150,200 bond.
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.