Several Little River businesses were subject to recent robberies leaving area shop owners on edge as police arrested one in connection to the spree.
Since June 6, four strong-armed robberies and a bank robbery were reported along Highway 17, a preliminarily business route. Horry County Police Capt. John Harrelson said on Tuesday police have made an arrest in connection to some of the robberies and more details about the suspect would be released later.
Four strong-armed robberies and one bank robbery were reported to police in the last two weeks. Their details include:
- On June 15, Officers responded to the Dollar General for a strong-armed robbery at about 4 p.m. An employee said a suspect came into to purchase candy and reached across the counter when the till was open, according to a police report. He took money and threatened to punch the victim. The suspect is described as a short-haired, black man, standing 6-feet-1-inch to 6-feet-3-inches tall weighing 230 to 250 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black, ball cap, black T-shirt, dark blue jeans with several cuts along the thighs and blue high top sneakers. He may have fled the scene in an older, red sedan.
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- On June 10, police went to the Sleep Inn for an attempted robbery at about 2:30 a.m. The witness said a man entered the hotel and demanded money while holding a knife, according to a report. He left without getting any cash. That suspect was described as a white man, standing 6-feet tall with a long-sleeve blue shirt and jeans.
- On June 6, police responded to a business for a reported strong-armed robbery at about 9:30 p.m. The business' name and address were redacted in a police report. The suspect tried to buy an item with pennies. He left after knocking down the cashier and taking money from a open drawer. The suspect is a black man with a large build. He wore a black T-shirt and camouflage shorts. A light-complexion man, wearing a Hawaiian shirt was identified as the driver of car that the suspect was in before the robbery.
- On June 6, at about 12:30 p.m. a bank robbery occurred at Carolina Trust Federal Credit Union. The suspect threatened a customer and tellers and took money before fleeing. Victims described the suspect as a black man, wearing a black sweatshirt, blue bandana with white square in the pattern, gold, aviator style sunglasses and medium blue sneakers.
- On June 6, officers went to the Circle K for a robbery at about 3:45 a.m. The victim said a man tried to purchase a soda. At one point, he reached over the counter and took cash from the register. The suspect then demanded the money from the safe. That suspect is described as a black man, standing 6-feet-tall, wearing light blue shirts and dark shorts.
Rick Maruca owns The Country Rooster along Highway 17. He said they recently purchased a camera system to help protect the shop. He added its often just him and another business behind the counter at the shop.
"It concerning," Maruca said of the spree. "They're here and there's no protection."
Harrelson said Horry County Police officials are working its north patrol detachment to ensure there is a presence in the Little River area.
Josh Cox manages Little River Pawn shop and said he didn't see the spree as an uptick in crime, but a sign of the times.
"Everyone has to be careful anymore," he said.
Each person who walks through the pawn shop is scrutinized , Cox said. For example, if they see someone wearing a hooded sweatshirt when its 90 degrees outside, they will ask the patron to remove the hood.
"If we see something that looks out of place or gives us a bad feeling, then we try to figure out the best way to safely deal with the problem," Cox said. "