Saturday, January 17, 2009

South Carolina: Armed robbery goes awry

Dalzell, South Carolina

From the Sumpter Item of January 17, 2009
Armed robbery goes awry

A masked bandit tried to rob the wrong store Thursday night.

A police report said about 11:19 p.m. a black man in his mid to late 20s brandished a shotgun at a 73-year-old store owner, demanded money and fired once, hitting the wall behind the owner. The store owner pulled out his own gun and returned fire and called 911 as the man fled the store on foot.

Smoking a cigarette not long after lunch time Friday, Milton McCarty leaned on the counter behind the cashier’s area, a half cup of coffee in a styrofoam cup resting near his elbow. He said he’s owned McCarty’s Super Convenience Store at 3909 Camden Highway for 40 years and when he works at night, he always carries his weapon, declining to say exactly what kind.

“He fired at me and I fired back at him and it was over with,” he said matter of factly, “and he took to running.”

He quickly dialed 911, he said, and officers were on the scene in minutes.

“I think I got him in the face a little bit, and that was it,” he said.

The robber — having robbed nothing actually — ran out the door heading east on Camden Highway, McCarty said, hooking his thumb in the air, pointing behind him. McCarty simply shook his head and let out a laugh when asked what he was thinking when the gunman opened fire.

“I carry mine (his weapon) all the time,” he said. “Everything’s fine.”

McCarty said this wasn’t the first time he’s had to use his gun while working, either.

“I shot one other fellow,” a while back, he said, but declined to get into details.

The suspect is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall and 165 pounds. He was wearing a black jacket, black shoes, blue jeans and a mask McCarty said was navy blue.

Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said investigators were working to enhance the video images of the man and said they were unsure if the man left in a car after running out of the store.

“We’re not sure if there was a vehicle,” he said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 436-2700 or Crime Stoppers at (803) 436-2718. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

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