Two people accused of murdering a man in his southwest Charlotte home Jan. 2 have also been charged with tying up and robbing a McAdenville family last week.
Authorities say they're trying to determine whether the suspects or their associates were involved in as many as six other robberies in Mecklenburg County.
Police declined to specify whether there was a pattern, but the details of crimes three weeks and seven miles apart are similar – innocent people robbed in their homes by a group of men and women they'd never met.
In the Jan. 2 case, police say, the results were fatal. Louis Navarre, 39, became the city's first homicide victim of 2009 when he was shot inside his home on McGarry Trail. He stumbled out of his house and left a trail of blood leading to a neighbor's driveway, where he died.
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Charlotte-Mecklenburg homicide Capt. Paul Zinkann said “there's no evidence at this point that our victim knew these individuals. He may have been followed home from work. Or they may have been hiding. We're still trying to figure that out.”
Neighbors who heard the gunshots chased the people who ran from the house, but gave up when the suspects turned down a dark street.
On Wednesday morning, police swarmed an Economy Inn in north Charlotte and arrested Latasha Nicole Hope, 22, and Perry Lamont Joines, 31. Both were in Mecklenburg jail Wednesday night with no bond, charged in Navarre's slaying. They are also charged with burglary and robbery.
Eleni Andrew Hammond, 45, who was already in Mecklenburg jail on unrelated charges, faces the same charges.
On Friday night, three weeks after Navarre's killing, a McAdenville family was tied up and robbed in their Gaston County home. A woman knocked on the door and asked to use the telephone. Then a man with a gun forced his way into the house. A second man ordered the family to the floor and tied them up with a cord, police said.
Police estimated the intruders took $10,000 in belongings and drove away in a burgundy, four-door car. The victims weren't injured, police said.
During that investigation, Cramerton police said they were led to a Charlotte home linked to the burgundy car. That's when they started working with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.
Joines and Hope were charged with the McAdenville crimes. Police also charged Brandy Vernal Hickman, 26, who was in Gaston jail Wednesday on a $250,000 secured bond.
Zinkann said investigators planned to re-interview witnesses in similar cases.