Three men have been indicted in U.S. District Court on charges they robbed 39 businesses in a 20-month crime spree that touched 16 police jurisdictions across the Lowcountry.
Raynard Montel Eady, 29, of North Charleston; Christopher Donnell Simmons, 33, of Wadmalaw; and Winard Montez Eady, 29, of North Charleston have been charged in the robberies that ran from July 2009 to March 2011, prosecutors allege.
The alleged robbers targeted Asian restaurants and check-cashing and loan businessses mostly in Charleston County, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles. But the crime spree spread far to the outskirts of Charleston, including Holly Hill, Beaufort County, Walterboro and Andrews.
Goose Creek Police Department, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, Summerville Police Department, Folly Beach Department of Public Safety, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and Mount Pleasant Police, among others, assisted in the investigation.
The indictment alleges that the three men conspired to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce. As well, all three are charged with using handguns in furtherance of the robberies.
The conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney. The firearm counts carry a mandatory five-year sentence for a first offense, and any subsequent offense carries a mandatory, consecutive, 25 years imprisonment.
Raynard Eady and Christopher Simmons were arrested as a part of a multi-agency investigation in February 2011 and charged with state offenses, including armed robbery, that are included as part of the federal indictment unsealed today. Both have remained in custody since that arrest.
Winard Eady was arrested on May 18. All three were arraigned in federal court Tuesday when the indictments against them were unsealed.
Simmons was ordered detained after waiving a bond hearing. W. Eady and R. Eady will have hearings on their bond later this week.
In addition to the 16 local law enforcement agencies that assisted in the investigation, the FBI and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Divsion stepped in on the massive dragnet.