An Ohio man facing multiple charges in connection with a series of drugstore robberies and a carjacking in July has been returned to his hometown to face similar charges there before he is prosecuted in Horry County.
Robert Michael Barnes, 30, was extradited back to Boardman, Ohio, this week to faces charges there in connection with several incidents on July 22, according to Ohio authorities.
Barnes faces two counts of aggravated robbery, two counts of kidnapping, and two counts of auto theft, according to Boardman police officials.
Barnes agreed to be returned to Ohio to face charges there before he is tried in Horry County, according to Senior Solicitor Donna Elder. A detainer has been placed on Barnes to be returned to Horry County once criminal proceedings in Ohio are complete.
In Ohio, the incidents occurred within several hours of each other the morning of July 22 when police said Barnes held a store clerk hostage at a Circle K and stole cash, cigarettes, and the clerk's vehicle.
Later that day, police said Barnes walked into a drugstore held a 74-year-old woman hostage as he demanded narcotics from the store clerk. He fled in the hostage's van, police said.
Four days later, Horry County police said Barnes went on a crime spree in Horry County that included a carjacking and drugstore robbery.
Barnes has been charged in Horry County with armed robbery, kidnapping, two counts of first-degree assault and battery, grand larceny with a value of more than $10,000, receiving stolen goods with a value of more than $10,000, failure to stop for a blue light and possession of a stolen vehicle.
On July 26, police said Barnes carjacked a woman in North Myrtle Beach before he robbed a CVS in Myrtle Beach and eluded police in a wooded area off International Drive for several hours.
A woman told police she was at the gas pump at the Tiger Mart on Second Avenue North and U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach when a man pulled up in a van and engaged her in conversation. After she finished pumping gas and got back inside her car, the man came over, yanked her out and took her car, police said.
The thief left the van at the gas station, and police later learned it had been reported stolen from Ohio.
Later that day, police said Barnes entered the CVS pharmacy at 38th Avenue North and U.S. 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach, removed scissors from a box and held them against the neck of a 24-year-old woman while he demanded bottles of OxyContin.
It was the woman's first day at work, and she told police she initially thought the incident was a joke, according to the report. The employee said she didn't know where the drugs were kept, and the man pulled her to the prescription aisles and began a countdown for the pills.
Another employee gave him two bottles of OxyContin, and he asked her where the needles were kept, according to the report. The woman pointed to the shelf, and the assailant took some before he pulled the hostage with him toward the front door.
During the incident, he yelled at customers that they should "not be a hero" before he released the hostage at the door and ran to the vehicle that had been stolen during the earlier carjacking in North Myrtle Beach.
An Horry County police officer tried to stop the 2011 Toyota Avalon for speeding along Robert M. Grissom Parkway in Myrtle Beach. The driver would not pull over, and officers learned it was the vehicle reported stolen and seen at the CVS robbery. The car continued onto International Drive, but the pursuit was called off for safety reasons, according to police.
The Avalon was later found off International Drive near Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve, but the driver had fled into the woods.
Horry County police used bloodhounds to search for the driver but did not find him. Later, someone spotted Barnes walking in the 4000 block of S.C. 90 and called police.