Local News

Accused Kidnapper Could Face More Charges in Wilmington

Posted June 29, 2007 5:57 a.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2007 7:23 p.m. EDT

— A man charged in a recent string of rapes, robberies and kidnappings in Raleigh was ordered held under a $4.8 million bond Friday and could face additional charges in Wilmington.

Raleigh police arrested Omar Cortez Sharpe, 26, of Wilmington, Thursday afternoon at Tower Shopping Center off New Bern Avenue. He is charged with one count of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of first-degree rape, three counts of second-degree kidnapping, four counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of robbery in connection with crimes that began with an abduction in Wilmington on June 16.

Sharpe, who winked and waved for television cameras hours after his arrest, was quiet in court and could barely be heard asking for a public defender. The judge informed him that he could spend the rest of his life in prison for the crimes of which he is accused of committing.

Investigators believe he kidnapped a woman from Wilmington, brought her to Raleigh and raped her in a wooded area near Bonneville Court.

A week later, Sharpe allegedly kidnapped a woman from her apartment on Hylton Drive and raped her near Green Road Park.

This week, two women reported similar incidents in which a man, identified as Sharpe, kidnapped them in shopping centers and forced them to withdraw money twice from ATMs.

The latest such incident happened Wednesday night at about 9 p.m. when Sharpe allegedly hid inside a sport utility vehicle while a woman and her 5-year-old daughter were inside the Pizza Hut at Tower Shopping Center.

"The crimes took place over a 12-day span," Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. "They weren't linked together from the beginning. All that took a lot of work from different law enforcement agencies," including the Wilmington Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service.

Sharpe has a long criminal background that dates back nine years, having been convicted of assaulting a female, assault with a deadly weapon and larceny.

A number of charges are also pending in Wilmington, and police investigators there will be looking at other open cases to see if he is implicated in any of them, police department spokeswoman Lucy Crockett said.

"The Raleigh cases broaden the scope of what to look," Crockett said in an e-mail to WRAL. "For example, the fact that he did several robberies there that didn't include sexual assaults would lead us to look at additional cases here that we might not have considered before."