Deputies capture man accused of robbing Bladen Co. school bus driver at gunpoint

Deputies capture man accused of robbing Bladen Co. school bus driver at gunpoint

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. (WECT) - The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office says the man accused of robbing a school bus driver at gunpoint then taking her car has been captured.

Michael Darrell Smith, 33, of Fayetteville, is charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, robbery with a dangerous weapon, second-degree kidnapping, and larceny of a motor vehicle.

Smith was taken into custody by a US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force after they were given information from Bladen County investigators. The Marshals were able to track Smith and find him at a relative’s home in Cumberland County early Friday afternoon.

According to a news release from the sheriff's office, the incident occurred around 4:15 a.m. Monday when the bus driver arrived to pick up her bus at Elizabethtown Middle School.

She told deputies as she pulled into the school, she was stopped by a black male with dreadlocks, later identified as Smith, and a white female with red hair who told the bus driver their car had run out of gas on the off ramp of NC 87 and US 701. The suspects asked the bus driver if she would take them to get gas. She declined.

After starting her bus, she went to park her car and Smith then confronted her, pointing a gun at her and demanding her car, purse and cell phone. Smith got in the driver’s seat, the female jumped in the back seat and they drove off.

The victim, who was not physically harmed, drove her bus to the sheriff’s office and reported the crime, which included the theft of her cell phone valued at $600, her purse with $30 in cash and her 2014 Chevrolet Cruze valued at $15,000.

The sheriff’s office said Smith was also wanted for a parole violation for a previous armed robbery conviction in Robeson County in 2011. He is currently being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center. He will be taken back to Bladen County at a later date.

“I wish to thank all the law enforcement agencies that have helped on this case,” said Sheriff McVicker. “This was a group effort and we could not have brought this man to justice without the help of Elizabethtown Police Department, Cumberland and Robeson County Sheriff’s Offices, North Carolina Department of Corrections and the US Marshals. So many times this type of cooperation between agencies is what it takes to bring criminals to justice.”

If you have any information on the identity of the female with Smith during Monday’s armed robbery, please contact the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office at 910-862-6960 or call 911.

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