Myrtle Beach man sentenced to 15 years in prison after guilty plea in home invasion

troot@thesunnews.comSeptember 17, 2013 

Christopher Ryan Bell

— A Myrtle Beach man was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges related to a February home invasion in Surfside Beach, according to authorities.

Christopher Bell, 27, of Myrtle Beach pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree burglary, armed robbery and criminal conspiracy in the Feb. 2 incident at Southbridge Villas, according to the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

On Aug. 15, a jury found Bell’s younger brother, Kenneth Jordan Bell, 22, guilty of the same charges in addition to kidnapping and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and a judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison, according to Nancy Livesay, an assistant solicitor.

The men must serve 85 percent of their sentence before they are eligible to be released.

The men were charged after Horry County police learned of a robbery where the suspects wore black masks and socks over their shoes when they went into a home armed with a gun and tire iron, Livesay said. The armed men demanded personal items from their victims, police said.

Two 24-year-old men and a 23-year-old man were inside the apartment when the younger of the three told police he received a text message from a woman, “who he thought was one of his friends,” asking if he wanted to go eat with her, according to police.

The younger victim told police the woman said she was on her way, so he cracked open the front door and spoke to her on the phone about directions to his apartment.

The victim said two men with masks – one armed with a gun and the other with a tire iron – pushed open the door and demanded valuables, according to the report.

One of the victims was on the couch holding his laptop and one suspect held a gun on him, while the man with the tire iron followed the younger man into his room, the report stated.

The third victim told police he was in his room, heard the commotion and saw the masked, armed men, so he locked his bedroom door and called police, according to the report. The younger victim told police he recognized the voice of one robber and called him out. The man took off the mask and demanded the victim’s valuables.

Police arrived at the apartment complex as the robbers were heading to a car in the parking lot where the woman waited, according to the report. Police took the Bell brothers and the woman into custody.

Officers found the following items inside the vehicle: a gun; bullets; knife; two sets of scales; tire iron; latex gloves; a pistol case; two phones; a laptop; computer case and cord; a camcorder; two pairs of sunglasses; a glass pipe; two pairs of shoes; and a container of marijuana, according to the report.

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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