Tuesday, July 2, 2013
“We were just cleaning up after a party and these two guys came around my husband's truck and asked if they could use the phone,” said Allie Rogers of Ridgeville. “We hadn't heard anything and didn't know anything.”
“My husband Dan got the phone and one of them tried to call his dad but couldn't get a hold of anyone, so my husband called a cab for them.”
The two men were suspected bank robbers and the subjects of a massive manhunt Monday.
But the Rogers knew nothing about that. They had not received the reverse 911 notification that law enforcement had sent to residents in the manhunt area which included their road – Campbell Road – and the surrounding area.
Nor had they seen the news. They went to bed early, the night before, Rogers said. Tuesday morning they got up early and started to clean the yard around 8:30 a.m.
One of the men told the Rogers he had broken his arm and broken his foot. “They were very calm,” said Rogers, “we didn't think anything of it.”
“My husband asked 'how did you get hurt?' and the guy said 'ah, never mind, we don't want to get in trouble with the police.' That's when we went into the house and slipped our [handgun] into a pocket.”
Rogers said it wasn't until she got a text from a friend asking if she had heard about the massive manhunt that she began to wonder. She went inside and went online to look at news coverage and saw the photos taken by surveillance cameras and recognized the clothing that the two men in her front yard were wearing. They were the two who had robbed the Sun Trust Bank in North Charleston Monday.
“I matched the shoes,” said Rogers.
She quickly called 911.
Her husband offered the two men a drink and, when they accepted, brought them a couple of Mountain Dews. The men settled on the Roger's front porch to wait for the cab which would take about 30 to 40 minutes to get out to the remote Ridgeville address.
Her voice on the 911 call is breathless and anxious. The 911 dispatcher is calm. The call goes on for a long time, the dispatcher keeping her on the line until the officers arrive.
The Rogers' house is set back from the road and screened by trees. “You can't see our house from the road,” said Rogers, “it is very secluded. We are surrounded by woods. The only access is the driveway and I told the 911 operator to tell them not to use lights and sirens. They didn't.”
Rogers said suddenly there were about 10 to 15 police cars and a lot of officers with guns drawn, all pointed at the men on the front porch.
“They offered no resistance whatsoever,” said Rogers. “The two guys laid right down on the porch. They [EMTs] put them on back boards and took them in an ambulance because they were hurt in that car crash.”
Rogers said then cops then began searching their yard, their outbuildings and under their house in the crawl space.
The search paid off. The police found money hidden under the house in the crawl space. They sat on her front porch and counted, said Rogers who had no idea how much money was found.
The police told Rogers the men could have slept under the house or in one of the outbuildings last night. Law enforcement complete with K-9 Units were on scene at the Rogers' house from 9 a.m. Tuesday to about 1 p.m., she said. The K-9 Units were attempting to track the men from the scene of the Monday accident to the house.
The Rogers were asked to stay inside during this time.
Apparently, said Rogers, “neither man was armed [with a firearm] but one had a box cutter that we saw the cop remove and kick away when he was handcuffing him.”
“I am almost glad we didn't know anything when this happened,” she said, indicating that they would have responded differently and the men would have run away or worse.
In hindsight, though, she said she is “terrified.”
“Nothing ever happens out here, that's why we moved here.”