An early morning crime spree in Hampton County left county and private property burglarized and destroyed–including a Hampton County work truck, which was incinerated–and one man in custody, as state police have come in to aid local law enforcement in the investigation.
In the early morning hours of Thursday, July 6, several businesses in the county and one local government office, the county-owned B.T. DeLoach Building, were burglarized, vandalized and robbed. A Hampton County work truck was stolen and later found burned.
Hampton County Sheriff Anthony Russell told The Hampton County Guardian Thursday that officers from the Town of Hampton, the H.C. Sheriff’s Office, and the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED), located a suspect who had “barricaded himself” inside a residence on Plywood Street in Hampton.
With SLED assistance, around noon Thursday local police arrested Hunter Roger Harris, 26, of Hampton. Harris is currently facing burglary charges, with other charges pending.
Sheriff Russell said it was unknown at this time if Harris had a previous criminal history, or what the motive or circumstances were behind the crimes.
The lone suspect was identified by video evidence, said Hampton Police Department Public Information Officer Bradford Drawdy in a public release on the HPD Facebook page.
During the spree, the targeted locations included the B.T. DeLoach Building, the Shell Station in Hampton, ACE Hardware in Hampton, and A&M Tire and Auto in Cummings.
The suspect allegedly vandalized one office inside the B.T. DeLoach county building, then stole keys and a work truck, later found in Cummings almost totally destroyed by fire.
Russell said that the work truck had previously been assigned to Dobie Hiers, a county supervisor and employee who recently retired.
“We are still trying to figure out how he got into the county building, and why he picked the B.T. DeLoach,” said Russell.
A vehicle was also stolen from A&M Tire and Auto.
Will Hutto, retail manager at ACE Hardware, said that there was minimal damage to the store and nothing was stolen, as the burglar alarm appeared to frighten the suspect away.
The HPD is the lead investigative agency for the Hampton businesses affected, while the HCSO is taking the lead on the Cummings and county-owned crime scenes, said Russell. SLED is assisting both agencies.
Around 10 a.m. on Thursday, Hampton County posted the following notice of closure on its Facebook page:
“Due to an issue at the B.T. Deloach Building, the following departments are temporarily closed: Assessor, Treasurer, Auditor, Public Works, Building and Permitting. The closure is temporary and there is no estimated timeframe for reopening, however, we anticipate normal operating hours on Friday, July 7th. Check back to this site for updates. Messages may be left at the phone numbers or emails available on the County website, and will be returned as soon as possible.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is available. Follow The Hampton County Guardian Editor and USA Today Network journalist Michael DeWitt Jr. on Facebook and Twitter for updates.