BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A North Carolina man pleaded guilty Wednesday to robberies of two armored vehicles- one in Maryland on January 22, 2018 and one in North Carolina on February 9, 2015.
Orneth South, 49, has a 2007 armed robbery conviction in the Eastern District of New York.
According to his guilty plea on January 22, 2018, South and his co-defendants approached the driver of the armored vehicle as he was removing cash cassettes from an ATM machine at a credit union in Salisbury, Md.
Co-defendant Michael Watts place a gun to the driver’s head and disarmed him of his service weapon.
Watts then grabbed the driver by the hair and ordered him to open the door of the armored vehicle.
After the driver opened the door, South and another co-defendant removed several bags of money from the vehicle, as well as ATM cassettes filled with cash.
Watts then forced the driver into the vehicle where he used zip ties to secure the driver’s hands.
The robbers then fled with the money, stealing a total of $1,324,288. The robbers went to the co-defendant’s home in Princess Anne and divided the stolen money.
South was arrested April 20, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina on a warrant issued as a result of the robbery. South agreed to talk to investigators and confessed to the January 22, 2018 robbery.
On January 31, 2019, co-defendant Michael Watts, aka, “Turtle”, 42, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty to his role in the robbery.
Watts was arrested on May 18, 2018, in Queens, New York on a warrant issued as a result of the robbery.
When he was arrested, Watts was wearing around $70,000 in jewelry, including a custom turtle pendant, which was purchased with the proceeds of the armored vehicle robbery. He also admitted using his portion of the stolen money to purchase a Mercedes $430 automobile, clothes, two tombstones and to pay off bills and rent.
When South was arrested, he also admitted his involvement in a separate armored vehicle robbery in North Carolina on February 9, 2015, in that robbery South and two accomplices pointed a semi-automatic handgun at the guard, stole his handgun and $120,694.25 that had just been retrieved from a nearby restaurant and was in a bag slung over the guard’s shoulder.
The defendants will be required to pay restitution in the full amount of the loss, which is at least $1,324,288.
If the court accepts the plea agreement, South will be sentenced to 20 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for May 8 and Watt’s sentencing is scheduled for May 1, both at 3 p.m.