Local News

17-year-old, 18-year-old face serious criminal charges after Triangle chase, robberies

Posted November 1, 2017 12:43 p.m. EDT
Updated November 1, 2017 11:25 p.m. EDT

— Two men appeared in court Wednesday morning in connection with a crime spree that spanned the Triangle and included a carjacking and at least two gunpoint robberies.

Marcus Cofield, 17, and Jarrein Smith, 18, were arrested Tuesday after a stolen SUV crashed in Apex.

Cofield, whose face was bandaged, and Smith entered the Durham County courtroom together Wednesday morning. As they walked in, one woman burst into tears.

Police say the crime spree started with a carjacking in Cary. The victims told investigators that two men approached them. Cofield was charged with larceny of a motor vehicle.

Authorities said the men approached a woman and her brother returning home in their SUV at about 1 a.m. Tuesday and demanded the woman’s cell phone, wallet and keys at gunpoint. The men assaulted the woman’s brother when he did not give up his cell phone, police said.

Cofield is accused of stealing the SUV, driving it around the Triangle and committing at least two gunpoint robberies in Durham, stealing electronics and cash valued at more than $2,000.

Authorities said the Durham robberies occurred on West Main Street and Holloway Street.

Durham police spotted the stolen car at 4 a.m. Tuesday around Phoenix Crossing in Durham and started a chase that ended in a crash in Apex.

Police are investigating whether the men are also connected to an armed robbery at a McDonald's on Tower Boulevard in which an employee was shot and an armed robbery on Chapel Hill Road in which a bicyclist was shot.

Cofield and Smith are both charged with three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. Three male juveniles, whose names were not released because of their age, are facing the same charges.

Warrants show Smith was charged in September with obtaining property by false pretenses and possession of stolen property when he attempted to sell a pair of stolen Dr. Dre Beats headphones to a pawn shop for $40. Cofield has two prior convictions for misdemeanor larceny.

Neither Smith nor Cofield has a history of violent convictions. Both were former students in the Durham Public School system, with Cofield last enrolled at Northern High School in December 2015 and Smith last enrolled at Hillside High School in April 2016.