A masked gunman entered the Scotchman convenience store on Dick Pond Road early Sunday morning, but police say he wasn’t there to rob the store; he was there to kidnap its clerk.
The 28-year-old woman, who was working the overnight shift at the store, told police she was forced from the business at gunpoint and into the trunk of her car by a bandana-clad suspect. She escaped when the car stopped in North Carolina more than three hours later, according to police.
A delivery driver with The Sun News was delivering newspapers to the store at 4:10 a.m. when he noticed “no attendant was in the store,” according to a police report. He and another customer, who arrived minutes later, checked the store, but couldn’t find anyone inside or outside the business and called 911.
Horry County police responded to the Myrtle Beach-area gas station at 1272 Dick Pond Road around 4:30 a.m.
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“Upon arrival it was learned that a masked gunman entered the store and forcibly removed the store clerk,” said Krystal Dotson, a public information officer with HCPD. “The suspect did not take any money or store items before leaving the premises with the victim’s car.”
An officer “located the victim's purse, cellphone and jacket under the front counter area of the store,” according to the report.
A driver’s license in the clerk’s belongings, left behind, helped police identify the victim, the report stated. Another officer reported seeing the clerk at the store a few hours earlier and said that “during their encounter the victim stated that she was working until 8 a.m.,” according to the report.
Police issued a be-on-the-lookout alert for the missing attendant and her vehicle, which was also missing from the location.
A “key-holder” responded to the store and gave officers access to Scotchman’s video surveillance footage, according to police. The officer “observed on the video surveillance a light-skinned individual who was wearing dark pants appearing to be jogging style with a green stripe, a black jacket with a red zipper, a black hat, a red bandanna worn across the bridge of the nose covering lips, cheek, chin and neck area, and black gloves.”
Police say the suspect entered the store, holding a semi-automatic handgun.
“The suspect racked the slide back on the weapon while walking through the door towards the front counter,” according to the report. “The unknown suspect then approached the counter holding the firearm” out at an arm’s length “and had the weapon pointing in the direction of the victim; the victim was standing behind (the) counter. The unknown suspect then jumped over the counter and grabbed the victim by the upper arm.”
The suspect led the victim at gunpoint toward the register and out from behind the counter as the suspect bent down and grabbed the victim’s car keys from the clerk’s purse, police said.
“The suspect then escorted the victim by gun point out the front entrance of the store,” according to the report.
Police found an abandoned bicycle near the front of the store.
While police were still on scene, the missing clerk notified a family member that she was fine and had escaped, police said.
The victim told police “she was placed in the trunk of her vehicle by the unknown suspect,” but escaped when the driver stopped at a Sun Do store in Columbus County, N.C.
The female clerk was located “unharmed” around 7:30 a.m., Dotson said.
Police need your help to locate the suspect or suspects responsible.
“We are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the persons believed to be involved,” Dotson said.
Information can be shared anonymously on the HCPD tip line at 843-915-8477.