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Myrtle Beach police charge couple in six armed robberies of businesses

Myrtle Beach police officially charged two people in connection with a string of armed robberies at area businesses, said Capt. David Knipes.

Geri Elizabeth Hamilton, 44, and Bernard Charles Foster, 38, were arrested Tuesday night on traffic charges unrelated to the robberies, Knipes said. Police linked the couple to a string of robberies at Myrtle Beach payday lending companies and hotels.

Hamilton and Foster were each charged with six counts of armed robbery and nine counts of kidnapping in connection with the incidents that began late July. Hamilton also faces charges of turning unlawfully and disregarding a stop sign while Foster faces a littering charge.

Hamilton and Foster appeared before a Myrtle Beach judge Thursday and bail was denied for Foster, said Shelly Askey, Myrtle Beach Court Clerk. Bond was set at $240,000 for Hamilton.

The robbery and kidnapping charges stem from incidents that occurred at 10 p.m. Monday at the Boardwalk Beach Resort at 2301 N. Ocean Blvd.; at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 5 at the Sun Fun Motel at 2305 Withers Drive; on Aug. 4 at the Holiday Shores at 7501 N. Ocean Blvd., and two check cashing businesses that were robbed in late July, police said.

In the incidents a man armed with a gun demands money from the clerk or employee, police said. At the motels, the man first inquired about getting a room before the robbery.

Since 1990 records with the State Law Enforcement Division show that Foster has been arrested 22 times and served prison sentences for offenses that range from grand larceny, breaking and entering a vehicle, robbery, criminal domestic violence, escape and possession of controlled substances.

Foster's most recent arrests were in December and charges that are pending include criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature, kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, petty larceny and malicious injury to personal property.

SLED records show Hamilton was arrested in 1999, 2000 and 2001 on fraudulent check charges.

More details will be posted as they become available.