News 12 First at Five, June 5, 2007
COLUMBIA, SC---News 12 was the first one to tell you the Richmond County Sheriff's Office had arrested the Bald Bandits. That was just three days ago. Today (June 4) one of the suspects, 33 year old Christopher LeFever, the man officers identify as the gunman, appeared in a Columbia, South Carolina Bond Court for an extradition hearing. It's a story you'll see only on News 12.
A straight faced and newly blonde Christopher LeFever made his way into a Columbia South Carolina courtroom for his first court appearance since being dubbed the Bald Bandit. Richmond County Sheriff's Office identifies LeFever as the gunman in the string of 12 armed robberies the Bald Bandits were responsible for across our area.
His three weeks on the run came to an end at a Comfort Inn hotel in Columbia Friday night. Kim Taylor works at the hotel and checked LeFever and his alleged accomplice Brian Cates into the hotel the day before.
"They came in and were really really nice. They came in and asked how much the room was and I told him and they came back in with the money and they went to their room. Later they came to ask about places to go and things to do and I told them and they were just real sweet."
During their brief stay Taylor says one other thing stuck out in her mind other than the two men's pleasant demeanor.
"They paid for everything in cash, and real sweet. It didn't matter how much it cost."
Richmond County Sheriff's Office says Cates later left Lefever at the hotel and headed back to Georgia. The next day Cates was taken into custody and told officers where they could find LeFever, and later that same evening when LeFever walked in the hotel's lobby, officers were waiting.
Taylor describes the scene, "The guy was walking away from the counter and the police officer ran in with his gun and told him to get down to the ground."
While on the ground, Taylor says LeFever pleaded with officers not to harm him, "He just asked him not to shoot him you know, don't hurt him and the police officer was really nice to him and it just went from there."
From there, to here in a Columbia jail where the Richmond County fugitive waived extradition in the same calm demeanor that deputies say made him famous.
When deputies will be able to go and pick LeFever up is still in question. After his hearing he was served with five outstanding South Carolina bench warrants for failure to appear in court this April for five traffic violations. He faces up to 300 days in jail in the Palmetto State before officers can bring him back to Georgia and try him here.