Authorities: Rillo stole his way to 13 days’ escape

Clemmons: ‘Anytime that all of us can go home at the end of the shift is a good day.’

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Videos
* Sheriff James Clemmons and Sheriff Dempsey Owens
* Sheriff Dempsey Owens
* Sheriff Clemmons (part 2)
1SG Andreas Dietrich

Previous coverage
* Rillo caught
* Rillo sheds cuffs, spends night in Norman church
* Rillo escapes, evades authorities

ROCKINGHAM — In a news conference Friday morning at the Richmond County Judicial Center attended by local and regional law enforcement agencies involved in the search and apprehension of fugitive John Adam Rillo, authorities outlined how they believed he stole ATVs and a pick-up to move about and used camouflage to hide his movement during his 13 days of freedom.

Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. was joined by Montgomery County Sheriff Dempsey Owens, Lt. Kelly Howell, North Carolina Highway Patrol First Sgt. Andreas Dietrich, Candor Police Chief Randy White, Mark Gulledge, chief deputy with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Montgomery County Det. Craig Cloninger and Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly. It was symbolic of the multi-agency, 13-day manhunt that concluded with Thursday’s arrest.

Photo courtesy Richmond County Sheriff's Office Fugutive John Adam Rillo, on the run from authorities since July 11, was apprehended Thursday (July 24) and delivered to the Richmond County Jail shortly before 3 p.m.

Photo courtesy Richmond County Sheriff’s Office
Fugutive John Adam Rillo, on the run from authorities since July 11, was apprehended Thursday (July 24) and delivered to the Richmond County Jail shortly before 3 p.m.

Rillo, 40, of Ellerbe, was caught Thursday and delivered shortly before 3 p.m. to the Richmond County Jail. At 10:30 a.m. Friday, Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. announced Rillo had been transferred to federal custody. Rillo is due to appear in federal court at 3 p .m. on Aug. 1 in Greensboro on drug charges. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Rillo will likely face a host of charges in both Richmond and Montgomery counties once he’s made available by federal authorities.

On Thursday, a resident called in a tip to authorities that indicated Rillo was in an abandoned home. Andreas Dietrich, first sergeant for the local barrack of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, said the state air patrol unit first put eyes on Rillo, who ran towards and into a pond near U.S. Route 220 and Sable Lane in Montgomery County.

A state trooper dove in after him, and Rillo swam into the arms of Montgomery County Det. Craig Cloninger and Richmond County sheriff’s deputies Bynum and Dawkins.

In his 13 days on the run, Rillo left behind a swath of suspected break-ins and thefts of food and other property in Montgomery and Richmond counties. Montgomery County Lt. Kelly Howell said Rillo could be responsible for “10 or more” break-ins during the nearly two-week period.

Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. and a host of representatives of local and regional law enforcement agencies details the 13-day manhunt and apprehension of federal fugitive John Adam Rillo.

Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. and a host of representatives of local and regional law enforcement agencies details the 13-day manhunt and apprehension of federal fugitive John Adam Rillo.

Other than a known break-in at Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church on Clayton Carriker Road near Norman — during which Rillo slept on a mattress from a crib in the church nursery, stole cookies, juice and made coffee and slipped one of his handcuffs with 3-in-1 oil — there were no other reported break-ins in Richmond County.

However, both Owens (910-572-1313) and Clemmons (910-997-8283) encouraged residents to re-evaluate, and not to ignore, missing items that could have gone missing as a result of Rillo’s actions.

Clemmons expressed satisfaction that the situation was resolved peacefully with no injuries sustained by Rillo or any law enforcement agency.

“Anyone that’s on the run from federal warrants you have to consider that they have the propensity to be dangerous,” Clemmons said. “I can say that, at anytime that all of us can go home at the end of the shift is a good day. The incident was brought to a close with no violence of any kind. We’re all blessed to be able to go home to our families.”

 

 

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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