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UPDATED FRIDAY, 4:30 P.M. —
Two people are under arrest and two are on the lam following a sting operation conducted by the Lawrenceburg Police Department to nab suspects in a home invasion earlier this week.
City, county and state police lured the suspects to a residence in Briar Creek late Thursday night. When they arrived around midnight, police surrounded their vehicle and the driver, Delana Lawson of 278 River Valley Road, Frankfort, surrendered. Two men in the vehicle took off on foot, triggering a massive manhunt that lasted into Friday morning and prompted Anderson County schools to go on a heightened alert.
One of the suspects, Devonte Webb of 384 Roosevelt Boulevard, Lexington, was captured around 4 a.m. Police said he traveled about eight miles on foot and was caught on Highway 44 near Highway 395.
The third suspect has not been named. Det. Mike Schell of the Lawrenceburg Police Department said a “John Doe” warrant has been issued for his arrest, adding that the suspect surfaced at least twice before a motorist picked him up in Lawrenceburg and dropped him off in Versailles.
Schell said the suspect approached a residence in Scenic Gardens, a subdivision near Nautical Chase on Highway 44, and asked a woman on her front porch for help. She refused and he left without incident.
Schell said he also entered the Huddle House restaurant on US 127 Bypass around 7 a.m. and tried to convince employees there to give him a ride, saying his car was broke down.
Schell said the suspect was dressed in black and was using a red bandana for a mask. Schell said he’s convinced that the suspect is no longer in Anderson County.
Schell said a fourth person who was involved in Tuesday night’s home invasion is also a suspect in the case. That person’s name has not been released.
Schell said it’s important for residents to know that Tuesday’s home invasion on Highland Avenue, where a homeowner was pistol whipped and robbed, was an isolated incident. He said media reports that the suspects had committed a “string” of home invasions, including one Thursday, are inaccurate.
“These guys were not targeting Lawrenceburg for random home invasions,” said Schell. “There’s a much bigger story behind this, but this remains an open investigation and more details will be released when they become available.”
Lawson, the driver of the vehicle, was charged with first-degree burglary on a bench warrant and second-degree burglary.
Webb was charged with first-degree fleeing or evading police and second-degree burglary.
Lawrenceburg was buzzing Friday morning as people made their way to work and school due to the presence of numerous city, county and state police vehicles around the intersection of US 127 Bypass, Highway 44 and other nearby areas.
Anderson County High School already had a lock down drill scheduled, so students and staff proceeded with that drill on “heightened alert
because of the man hunt," said Principal Ray Woodyard.
Woodyard said the school has to schedule several drills throughout the school year, and Friday's drill was the first on that schedule.
“It's ironic the way it happened," he said.
The drill lasted "no more than 10 minutes," Woodyard said, adding that during that time some teachers and staff were posted at exterior doors until police said it was all clear.
None of the other schools were put on lock down, said Superintendent Kim Shaw.
"When you say ‘lock down’ it usually means all the classrooms are locked," Shaw said. “We're not on that in any of the schools.”
Police informed Shaw that the suspect might be headed toward Frankfort, so extra precautions were taken at Emma B. Ward Elementary
School, he said.
"They had their office door locked so you had to actually knock on the door to get in," Shaw said.
The rest of the schools were just put on alert and told not to take students out to the playground, he said.