A heavily armed stripper and her two brothers, who fled across the United States after robbing a bank and evading arrest by shooting out the tyres of a police car, were finally arrested by the FBI last night after another high-speed pursuit ended with a crash.
Lee-Grace Dougherty, a 29-year-old exotic dancer who describes herself as a "redneck and proud of it", was arrested along with her two brothers and accomplices, Ryan and Dylan. In circumstances reminiscent of the film Bonnie and Clyde, there had been fears that the group would rather lose their lives than be arrested after they rejected their mother's advice to turn themselves in with a text message reading: "There is a time for all of us to die."
Their capture followed a sighting of the group buying camping supplies at a sporting goods store in Colorado Springs on Tuesday afternoon.
The siblings had been at the centre of a nationwide manhunt since early last week, when police in their native Florida reported being fired at after attempting to stop their Subaru Impreza. Later that day, they barged into a bank in Georgia, began shooting at the ceiling and made off with an unknown quantity of cash.
Public fascination with the so-called "Dougherty Gang" has been fuelled by ongoing revelations regarding their colourful lifestyles. Lee-Grace, who worked as a dancer at a strip club called Cheaters, has previously been charged with several motoring offences, including hit-and-run battery, along with the assault of a police officer.
"I love to farm and shoot guys and wreck cars," Lee-Grace wrote, in a profile on the photo-sharing website Flickr, which was accompanied by several provocative shots of her wearing underwear. "I'm a redneck and proud of it, I like causing mayhem with my siblings." Dylan, 26, has a marijuana possession charge on his record, while Ryan, 21, is a registered sex offender required to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet after sending explicit messages to an 11-year-old girl.
A police search of their home uncovered a bunker beneath it, made from two 40-ft shipping containers connected by a hallway. The hidden structure had been fitted with an electricity supply and running water. Its purpose is unknown, but it is believed to have once held the cache of weapons – including an AK-47 rifle, a machine pistol and several high-powered assault rifles – which the siblings had in their possession until their arrest.