Three suspects charged in connection with the armed bank robbery of a South State Bank branch in North Myrtle Beach last May have been indicted, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina.
Lance Hardiman, Justin Pressley, and Rodrick Berklery of Longs, South Carolina, were each charged in a 8-count federal indictment stemming from the armed takeover of the South State Bank in North Myrtle Beach on May 4, 2016, and the high-speed chase and hail of gun fire that followed the incident, the release states.
Police say the trio, wearing masks and brandishing firearms – entered the South State Bank at 606 Main St. demanding money around 11 a.m. that day. The armed robbery then sparked a gunfire ridden high-speed chase followed by a roughly nine-hour manhunt as each suspect was rounded up by authorities combing wooded areas, police said.
Witnesses told police the men had semi-automatic handguns and fired two shots when they entered the bank. One round entered the ceiling and another went into a wall near the teller’s counter, according to an incident report.
No one inside the bank was injured during the robbery. The suspects fled in a silver Chevrolet Impala heading south on U.S. 17, under the hot pursuit of North Myrtle Beach police.
Officers responding to the bank found a “drawstring backpack that was filled with what appeared to be cash in the roadway,” according to the report. Cash around the bag was stained red by an exploded dye pack and police noted the odor of the dye still fouled the air around the discarded bag.
The getaway car continued through the Barefoot Resort community with suspects firing at officers and at random motorists during the car chase, North Myrtle Beach spokesman Patrick Dowling said following the incident.
The pursuing officer reported being shot at by a suspect with an assault rifle. The gunfire damaged the officer’s patrol car, causing him to temporarily lose control of the vehicle, according to the report.
No one was injured and officers did not return fire during the chase, Dowling said.
The chase bottomed out when the suspects hit spike strips, fled from the vehicle and disappeared into a wooded area near by.
The men were charged with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, two counts of use and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, obstruction of justice/witness tampering, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, the release states.
Hardiman and Pressley were additionally charged with felon in possession of a firearms counts, authorities said. The case was investigated by the FBI, along with North Myrtle Beach Police Department, SLED, and Horry County Police Department.