Local News

Durham police connect suspect to more Tobacco Trail robberies

Posted August 2, 2013
Updated August 20, 2013

— Durham police connected a suspect Tuesday to two more robberies on the American Tobacco Trail.

Derrick Wells, 22, of Otis Street, was charged earlier this month with two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon for an incident that occurred June 18. On Tuesday, police added charges for robberies on the trail on July 5 and July 16.

They upped his bond to $600,000. Wells was being held in the Durham County Jail.

Ricardo Mangum, who lives on Otis Street, said he wasn't surprised to learn that the suspect was a neighbor. "What I thought then is it has to be someone from around here," Mangum said.

American Tobacco Trail in Durham Neighbor: Trail robberies mar an asset

Still, he is disappointed. Mangum said he knew Wells. "I was hoping it wasn't him because I saw potential in him," he said. 

In each case, people exercising on the trail reported being held at gunpoint and robbed of their electronics and cash.

Mangum said the robberies frighten people off the trail. "It gives the neighborhood a bad name," he said, "And it's a good family outing."

The victims of the June 18 robbery said Wells acted with another man. Investigators haven't identified the second robber.

Anyone with information about any of the robberies is asked to call Investigator J.J. Locklear at 919-560-4415, extension 29309, or Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 28, 2013

    meeper said, "This guy should be happy to be alive. He could have encountered someone with a concealed carry permit..."

    So, you're on a busy trail and a guy walks up and sticks a gun in your face. Your concealed weapon will help you how? If you tried something, you're almost certainly dead and your gun joins all of the other illegal ones on the street.

  • surfer Aug 22, 2013

    Great Job Durham Police. Thank You!

  • Jack Flash Aug 21, 2013

    I don't know why the original description was incomplete, but it definitely wasn't b/c the media was trying to be PC by leaving out race. Race is stated in such articles about 90% of the time, so the logical conclusion was that it was an oversight here. It's not remotely offensive or controversial to include race in relevant descriptions. It is highly offensive, however, to make assumptions and snide comments about it, then to justify it by alluding to vague 'trends,' as if that makes the tone acceptable.

  • meeper Aug 21, 2013

    This guy should be happy to be alive. He could have encountered someone with a concealed carry permit, which would have discouraged other criminals from doing the same.

  • zenonx6 Aug 21, 2013

    Hornet spray and a bic lighter.

  • buster102007 Aug 21, 2013

    Lets make an example of this fine young man. Death penalty!!!!

  • Obamacare saves lives Aug 21, 2013

    I hope someone shanks him in prison.

  • ssicctv Aug 21, 2013

    People now are allowed to legally "conceal carry" if licensed to do so. Maybe all we need is one person to defend themselves for the criminals to "get the message".

  • nerdlywehunt Aug 21, 2013

    Maybe Obama will weigh in with a "he could have been my son" speech!!

  • lb27608 Aug 21, 2013

    "And people we are talking about Durham and for those transplants here to natives of this state we all know its history and the people that live there ,bout like downtown Raleigh.But all these places are being painted a purity picture to lure the outsiders moving here that it is like heaven...And you think the devils just float away...Wrong."