Trooper in Georgetown arrests man wanted in robberies in Myrtle Beach, Conway

troot@thesunnews.comJanuary 30, 2014 

Richard Cowart

A man wanted by two area police departments in connection with three robberies in the Myrtle Beach and Conway areas was arrested in Georgetown on Wednesday, according to authorities.

Richard James Cowart, 43, was identified as the suspect in a bank robbery that occurred Monday in Conway and two robberies at pharmacies on Sunday in Myrtle Beach, police said.

On Wednesday about 2 p.m., troopers with the S.C. Highway Patrol stopped Cowart’s 1988 Ford Ranger pickup truck on High Market Street at Fraser Street in the city limits of Georgetown, Myrtle Beach police Capt. David Knipes said. The trooper recognized Cowart as being wanted and stopped the vehicle.

Cowart was taken into custody without incident and taken to the Georgetown County Detention Center where he was being held pending transportation to Horry County to face robbery charges in Myrtle Beach and Conway, Knipes said. Troopers did not file any charges against Cowart.

On Friday, Cowart was booked into the Myrtle Beach Jail to face two robbery charges in the city. He was being held pending a bond hearing.

Police released photos from video surveillance of each of the robberies, which showed a man with a similar build and features. Officers identified Cowart as being responsible for the robberies and issued warrants for his arrest.

Earlier this week Lt. Selena Small said a warrant was issued for Cowart’s arrest in connection with a bank robbery that occurred on Monday.

The robbery occurred at 9:08 a.m. Monday when Conway police were called to the BB&T Bank branch at 2300 U.S. 501 East, Small said. A man robbed a teller and then ran from the bank. Police searched the area, but did not find the suspect.

On Sunday, two Myrtle Beach businesses were robbed by a man, who also fit the same description and used a note during the crimes.

Officers were first called about 8:45 a.m. Sunday to CVS at 512 S. Kings Highway for a robbery where the robber put a toothbrush and note on the counter or the clerk, police said. The note said “give me all our money.”

The clerk said she looked at the man and he then pulled out a gun from his pants waistband and ordered her to give him the money or he’d shoot her, according to the report. The clerk said she took the cash register drawer out and put it on the counter and the man took the cash and then left the store.

The second robbery occurred that afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Rite Aid at 7800 N. Kings Highway, police said.

In that robbery, the clerk said the man got a trial size bottle of mouth wash and trial size tube of toothpaste and put it on the counter along with a note that demanded money from the register, according to the report. That clerk said she also looked up at the robber after reading the note and he reached toward the front of his pants and demanded all the money.

The clerk gave him the money from her register, which was estimated to be about $300, and the robber left the store, according to the report. No other details were available about the incidents.

Horry County police also are investigating a robbery on Saturday at a Rite Aid pharmacy in their jurisdiction, but Lt. Robert Kegler said they had not connected Cowart to that incident.

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

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