Crime

3 robberies, 3 days: Police give details of armed robberies connected to dating app

Armed robbery suspects appear for a bond hearing

Three men accused of participating in one to three robberies in Myrtle Beach in late December appear for bond hearings. Police say the suspects used the social media app Grindr to meet the victims.
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Three men accused of participating in one to three robberies in Myrtle Beach in late December appear for bond hearings. Police say the suspects used the social media app Grindr to meet the victims.

A trio accused of committing one to three armed robberies in Myrtle Beach last week could soon be released on bond ahead of trial.

Myrtle Beach police charged Dlanor Phillip Tilton and Mazar Nathaniel Sturdivant each with three counts of armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Shamoray Rockel Holmes was charged with one count of armed robbery.

The three men appeared for bond hearings in Myrtle Beach Municipal Court on Tuesday morning. Judge Clifford Welsh noted that only Tilton has a prior record — with relatively minor charges — but he couldn’t set bail lower than $25,000 for a robbery charge with an alleged gun.

“There is no such thing as a good armed robbery,” Welsh said.

The judge set Holmes’ bond at $25,000, and Tilton’s and Sturdivant’s bonds were set at $80,000 each. None of the defendants spoke during the hearing other than to answer the judge’s questions.

The robberies

On Dec. 27, a victim told police of a robbery that happened around 8:30 p.m. on Wahoo Drive near the Sea Path Apartment Complex. The victim said he used a social media app called Grindr — a dating app — to meet one of the three suspects. The victim said he was in his car when two suspects approached and pointed a handgun, according to their arrest warrants.

The suspects took the victim’s cellphone and money. The victim drove to a hotel and called the police, the warrants state.

The victim identified one of the suspect’s photographs from Grindr as the man with the handgun, according to the warrants. A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division facial recognition program identified a suspect from the Grindr photo.

On Dec. 30, one of the three suspects was found with a BB gun during a traffic stop. The gun matched the description of the one used in the robbery, according to the warrants.

On Dec 28, shortly before midnight, another victim contacted police and told them of a robbery that happened two hours earlier near 67th Avenue North and Bryant Street. According to the warrants, the victim was driving on Bryant Street when two suspects approached the vehicle and one pointed a handgun at the victim’s head.

The victim gave the suspect his wallet and they took his iPhone from the car, according to the warrants.

On Dec. 29, Myrtle Beach police officers investigated another reported robbery on Bryant Street. The victim said he used the Grindr app to meet with one of the suspects. When he arrived, two suspects pointed handguns at him, according to the warrants.

Tilton told police in an interview that he used the Grindr app to communicate with the three victims of the robberies, the warrants state.

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Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.


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