How a Walmart panhandling complaint led to a captured fugitive in Myrtle Beach

A 30-year-old man wanted in Conway on armed robbery and kidnapping charges was arrested after Myrtle Beach police said he was discovered sleeping in a car at Walmart Monday night.

Darrell Gowans was arrested and charged with sleeping in a motor vehicle, being a fugitive, and giving false information to police after Myrtle Beach authorities found him. Conway police later served outstanding warrants from an armed robbery from 2015 in connection with the armed robbery of a restaurant.

Darrell Gowans - JRLDC

Myrtle Beach officers discovered Gowans after being called out to the Seaboard Street Walmart about 9:30 p.m. Monday to check on a panhandling complaint. Police found a silver Honda and discovered two men asleep in the vehicle after spotting it on the side of the store.

One of the men, Kevin Michael Shealy, gave an officer a Georgia state driver’s license, and he was charged with sleeping in a motor vehicle.

Gowans gave police a false name and birth date when asked for his information, according to the report. Police said information he was giving them wasn’t matching up, and a mobile finger print reading device was brought to the scene.

Gowans then told officers his first name, and that was confirmed by the print reader device, which also showed he was wanted out of Conway on several charges, the report states.

He is also wanted out of Henrico County in Virginia, according to the report, which didn’t state what charge he has there.

Lt. Selena Small, spokeswoman with Conway police, said the charges from Conway stemmed from an armed robbery at a Church Street Pizza Inn back on January 7, 2015.

As police investigated that case, they learned there were four suspects involved and got arrest warrants. Three were arrested and charged in 2015, but Gowans remained at large until Monday.

He’s charged with armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, Small said.

Gowans and the other suspects allegedly forced employees to the back of the restaurant at gunpoint and took an unknown amount of cash, an arrest warrant states.

Gowans is being jailed at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center where his bond was set at a total of $100,000 for the Conway charges, jail records show.