COLUMBIA, South Carolina – Five women mistaken for a gang of men have been linked to an armed-robbery spree and four are charged in the shooting death of one of their victims, police said Tuesday.
Authorities said the group had targeted men.
Until the suspects were arrested, police had thought they were looking for four teenage males and one female in the death of Keith Antonio Etheridge, 22, who was found shot several times in his car Friday.
"They were made out to look like males," Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. "Having five females go out and commit such violent crimes is really quite unique."
Officials said the four adults and one teen had dressed like men and some wore their hair short.
Authorities would not release any details about the arrests.
The crime spree began July 31 when two women forced their way into a home, shot a man in the hand and stole a car, police said.
On Friday, as police investigated a report of teenagers trying to rob people at gunpoint in a video store parking lot, they found Etheridge slumped over the steering wheel of his car about a block away.
Later Friday, a group of women assaulted a 25-year-old man and stole his wallet and pickup truck, which was spotted on Saturday in a neighboring county.
A pistol linked to other crimes was thrown from the pickup before police arrested three adults and one 15-year-old female, officials said.
Trakita Shanette Cooper, 17; Janeshia Furtick, 17; Tamika Holliday, 19, and the juvenile were charged with murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery in Etheridge's death.
Starr Richardson, 25, was arrested sometime during the weekend and was charged in the Friday night assault and later connected to the July 31 robbery, police said.
All of the suspects are from the Columbia area and two are related, authorities said.