Sunday, September 27, 2009

South Carolina: Robber ends up running for his life after Hilton Head home owner shoots at him

Hilton Head, South Carolina

From the Island Packet of September 23, 2009
Robber ends up running for his life after Hilton Head home owner shoots at him

A man stealing a coin collection in a Hilton Head Plantation home at noon Wednesday found himself running for his life after the homeowner shot at him and chased him out of the house.

The unidentified man, who was armed with a large stick or club, broke into a house on Teal Lane while the residents were inside, according to a news release from the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

The intruder entered through the unlocked front door and walked down the hall into a bedroom, where he started stealing a coin collection, according to the release. The owner confronted the robber, who threatened the owner and kept taking the coins, according to the release.

The owner ran to another room, grabbed a handgun and chased the robber. The owner fired a shot and missed, and the robber drove off in an SUV. Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cpl. Robin McIntosh said she did not know if the shot was fired while they were inside or outside the home.

The homeowner fell while chasing the robber and suffered minor injuries. His wife, who also was home, was not injured, according to the release.

The homeowner told Hilton Head Plantation security officers the robber fled in a 1990 or 1991 green or turquoise Ford Explorer driven by a second person.

The intruder dropped some of the stolen coins as he ran off, according to the release. The collection was estimated to be worth about $150, a Hilton Head Plantation official said.

The robber is described as white, in his mid-20s, about 6 feet tall and 180 pounds, with light brown hair, according to the release. He was last seen wearing khaki cargo shorts and a white, long-sleeved shirt with multi-colored stripes.

A car matching the description of the SUV was caught on video exiting the community's Cypress Gate around noon, according to a Hilton Head Plantation release.

Roadblocks were set up at that gate and the main gate, but security officials believe the robber had already left, the release said.

Peter Kristian, general manager of Hilton Head Plantation, said Wednesday afternoon it's not clear how the suspects got inside the gated community.

He said no guest passes had been issued Wednesday for Teal Lane, and the robber might be a contractor or plantation employee.

Plantation security officials were cross-referencing employee decals and gate passes with the getaway vehicle's description Wednesday afternoon, Kristian said. They also were searching surveillance tapes, he said.

Security officials suspect the intruder was trying to open unlocked doors in the neighborhood and thought the Teal Lane home was empty, Kristian said.

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