Three men are behind bars following a Tuesday night home invasion where a mother and her two children were held at gunpoint.
Effingham County Sheriff’s investigators allege that three Savannah men — Clifford Maurice Stephens, 24; Christopher Bernard Roberts 25; and Henry James Williams, 27 — burst into the Burke Drive residence of the woman near Springfield late Tuesday night.
“They kicked in the door, brandished a shotgun and ransacked her house,” ECSO Detective David Ehsanipoor said.
The suspects also stole the woman’s car but abandoned it near Church Road before getting back into their vehicle.
After 911 received a call about a possible home invasion, a responding deputy noticed a vehicle driving with its lights off.
The deputy, in an unmarked vehicle, called in a marked deputy patrol car to initiate a traffic stop and positioned his unmarked truck behind the suspicious vehicle.
The suspicious vehicle turned out to be the car with the home invasion suspects. The suspects fled and also nearly ran a deputy off the road, Ehsanipoor said.
The chase ensued on Highway 119 and reached speeds of 80 mph. Deputies attempted a box-in maneuver on the suspects’ car, a Firebird. The chase ended on Little McCall Road near 119 after the suspects ran off into a ditch. The three men fled into the nearby woods, but deputies, with backup from the Guyton and Springfield police departments, apprehended them. Two of the men were subdued with tasers.
“This was good police work,” Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said, “and our deputies were proactive in finding and apprehending the suspects.”
Inside the vehicle, deputies found a shotgun along with clothing that may have been used in the home invasion.
All three are currently being held in Effingham County Jail and have been charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, theft by taking (auto), felony obstruction, conspiracy, terroristic threats, and theft by receiving stolen property. Stephens is also charged with felony fleeing to elude and aggravated assault on a police officer.
Williams had served two separate sentences for theft by taking and for carrying a concealed weapon, among other charges.
Investigators also are trying to determine if the home invasion was random or if the victim was targeted.