2016-10-22 / Front Page

Suspect arrested, charged with 2015 motel robbery

Senior Staff Writer

Harris Harris SANFORD — Police on Friday arrested a 28-year-old local man in connection with a 2015 robbery at Super 8 Motel in south Sanford where the suspect, who brandished a knife, ran away when the desk clerk refused his demands.

Ryan J. Harris was taken into custody on a warrant following what Sanford Police Det. Sgt. Matthew Jones described as an “extensive” investigation.

On Friday night, Jones said Harris was identified as a person of interest in the case within weeks of the robbery.

“Several things led us to Harris,” he said in an email. “Most importantly were some key people coming forward who had intimate knowledge of the crime. There were many complexities to this long investigation, but I am happy to see all the efforts finally culminate in today’s arrest.”

The attempted robbery took place Nov. 24, 2015, when, Jones said, a man entered the motel brandishing a knife.

A still photograph released by police, obtained from the motel’s video surveillance showed an individual leaning on the counter, his right hand clutching a knife and his left hand holding together the hood of a hoodie sweatshirt in an apparent attempt to hide his face.

The suspect demanded money, but the clerk refused. The man then tried to grab a laptop away from the clerk at the front desk but was unsuccessful when the clerk pulled the laptop away from him. The clerk then stepped away from the desk into an area inaccessible to the suspect and called 911. The suspect left on foot.

Police released surveillance video and the case received national attention when it was aired on the Nancy Grace Show. The case remained open and active since that time, Jones said in a prepared statement.

Harris is being held at York County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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