York landscaper Eddie Nivens is irate.
“Why was this guy who robbed me and so many others on the street?”
“This guy” is Shannon Layne Myers, 42, an ex-con from Lancaster County who is charged in connection with the theft of Nivens’ landscaping business work truck last week while Nivens was working at an Indian Land Bojangle’s restaurant.
Myers also is charged in connection with a multi-state crime spree and manhunt that ended Friday when Myers was caught by an Alabama police chief.
Police say Myers and his girlfriend, Cassie Jeaneen Malin, 28, of Charlotte – who was free on bond following an arrest in Charlotte in March on drugs and prostitution charges – injured two officers and eluded capture for almost half a day Friday before being caught near the Alabama/Georgia state line. Police used airplanes, helicopters and a phalanx of patrol cars to search for him.
On Monday, Lancaster deputies obtained arrest warrants against Myers for the theft of Nivens’ truck, and they are investigating the theft of more than $10,000 from Nivens’ bank account. Myers is charged with grand larceny and receiving stolen goods.
Myers was free on $8,000 bond for a third-offense drug charge and grand larceny and conspiracy charges in York County, following a November arrest, court records show.
“It is mindboggling that this criminal was out there, not in jail, and committing crimes against people just like me,” said Nivens, owner of a York landscaping company.
Nivens’ truck and tools, valued at $35,000, were stolen May 12 while he and his crew worked at the Bojangle’s. After the theft, Nivens discovered that his bank account had been drained. Police found an assault rifle and drugs in the stolen car Myers left behind after taking the truck, authorities said.
Myers was convicted in Lancaster in 2004 of accessory after the fact to murder in a 2003 case. His 10-year prison sentence was suspended and he served four years on probation.
In 2009, he was sentenced to three years in prison for violating that probation after a North Carolina arrest on drug charges. He was released in March 2011, S.C. Department of Corrections and probation records show.
Myers was released from prison in North Carolina last year after convictions for drugs, obtaining property by false pretenses, larceny of a vehicle and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon after arrests in 2007, 2008 and 2011, North Carolina prison records show.
His criminal record in South Carolina dates back to 1991 and includes convictions for possession of cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as the accomplice role in the murder.
The couple was found about 1 a.m. Friday at a gas station off Interstate 20 in Heflin, Ala., near the Georgia state line, police said. Malin did not have money to pay for purchases when police arrived, Heflin Police Chief A.J. Benefield said.
Myers and Malin both tried to flee after police saw drugs and paraphernalia and a knife in the car, Benefield said, and officers had to use a stun gun twice on Myers. During the struggle, Benefield said, Malin cut and bit an officer and used a car door to stun the other officer who had subdued Myers, allowing Myers to escape.
“She kicked the door and the door hit the officer in the jaw,” Benefield said.
Myers ran into nearby woods, and police from both Alabama and Georgia started a search from the air and ground. After a manhunt involving federal, state and local police, Benefield was along the interstate near a bridge Friday around noon when he saw Myers near one of the town’s three I-20 interchanges.
“He started to run,” Benefield said Monday, “and I told him he better not and to get on the ground.”
Both are in custody in the Cleburne County, Ala., jail on charges of assaulting police officers, resisting arrest, and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Lancaster County investigators say Myers pawned a leaf blower stolen from Nivens’ truck before leaving the state. That and other evidence helped police identify him as the truck thief, police said.
Lancaster city police are also investigating to see if there is any connection between Myers an an armed robbery at an ATM last week.
Andrew Dys • 803-329-4065