The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Surveillance cameras aid in arrest of Stafford home-invasion suspect
BY KEITH EPPS / THE FREE LANCE-STAR
An arrest in a home-invasion shooting last week in North Stafford was apparently made possible by business surveillance cameras, court records show.
Clayton George Smith, 26, of Manassas is charged with multiple offenses in connection with a Jan. 29 robbery at an apartment at 3927 Jefferson Davis Highway during which two victims were shot multiple times in the legs.
According to the Stafford Count Sheriff’s Office, four to five masked men entered the home late that night and forced the three occupants to the floor.
The suspects ransacked the home while demanding drugs and money. They left after taking money from two of the victims, court records show.
According to an affidavit for a search warrant filed in Stafford Circuit Court, the men were shot after the intruders demanded drugs and more money and didn’t get them.
Detective Michelle Gibbons went to a business next to the apartment complex the following day and reviewed the surveillance video. The video showed a 2011 Nissan Maxima backing into a parking space at 10:41 p.m. on Jan. 29 and revealed its license plates.
Seventeen minutes later, another camera showed four people jumping over a fence between the business and the back of the apartment. They got into the Nissan and left, court records state.
The address on the vehicle’s registration is for a home in Manassas, the affidavit states. Officers from several agencies set up surveillance on the home that night to look for the car. They saw a man drive the Nissan into a garage and enter the home.
A short while later, the same man, later identified as Smith, left in the vehicle and was stopped by police.
The affidavit said Smith told investigators that the vehicle belonged to his wife but he had driven it the night before. He refused to say anything else, court papers say.
Ammunition and drugs were recovered during a subsequent search of Smith’s home.
Meanwhile, another search warrant filed by Stafford Sgt. C.S. Oxley indicates that the robbers may have had good reason to believe drugs were in the home in which the victims were shot.
That affidavit states that an ounce of marijuana was found in a bedroom, along with a digital scale with trace amounts of an unknown white powder.
Police also found items in the North Stafford home consistent with the use and distribution of illegal drugs, including numerous plastic baggies with missing corners and a grinder with traces of marijuana in it.
No other arrests in the cases have been announced, though police say they are still investigating and have other suspects.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404