By Tamas Mondovics
The violent attack and robbery of 62-year-old Valrico resident Barbara Orebaugh on her way to a charity event at the Regency Shopping Center in Brandon earlier this month prompted an immediate response by residents who have quickly joined forces to be on the lookout and catch the suspect as quickly as possible.
According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Lewis, after receiving numerous tips from Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay and assistance from various media outlets, HCSO detectives were able to identify 19-year-old Ja’Marcus Da’Sha Russ as the person who in fact robbed and injured Orebaugh.
“The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) is grateful for the vigilance displayed by area residents, along with assistance and cooperation of local business with law enforcement officers and detectives, all of which led to the quick arrest of a violent criminal,” Lewis said.
Investigators reported that around 5 p.m., Russ approached Orebaugh as she was walking to the movie theaters. Attempting to remove her purse, which she refused to let go of, Russ forced Orebaugh to the ground, where he punched and kicked her body and face.
Eventually getting what he wanted, Russ fled the scene with the purse leaving his victim suffering broken bones, along with numerous contusions and bruises as a result of the robbery.
Within three hours of the robbery, Russ used Orebaugh’s credit card at the Walmart located at 11110 Causeway Blvd. where he made a purchase of $865.48. Russ also used Orebaugh’s credit card at the Mobile station located at 1640 W. Brandon Blvd. for $46.29, followed by four separate attempts to use the credit card at the Kmart located at 1602 W. Brandon Blvd. for a total of $1,998.05, however, the transactions were declined, deputies said.
Russ returned to the Mobile station located at 1640 W. Brandon Blvd. and was again declined for a transaction of $4.70.
Captured on video surveillance during the transactions, Russ was positively identified and later located at his residence where he was taken into custody without incident.
Russ was booked into the Orient Road Jail and charged with Robbery Greater than $300; Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card over $100 (five counts) and Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card less than $100.
“Incidents like this reminds us to be vigilant and to be aware of our surroundings,” Lewis said.
For more information, visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.