Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) Good old-fashioned police work, coupled with the internet’s social media craze, led to a bust in Gaston over the weekend that netted a habitual offender driving a stolen car with a gun, drugs, and paraphernalia that could land him in prison for an extensive stretch. Gary Edward Ware, Jr., age 30, was taken into custody by Major Stephen Watkins of the Gaston PD and another officer who had backed him up, late Saturday night.
Watkins said that he had been scanning local Facebook groups over the past week when he noticed a red Ford Escape that had been stolen from an auto parts store in the Red Bank area. He made a mental note of the car before thumbing on past the post. Late Saturday night, he was on duty in Gaston when he saw a similar car pass him on Oakey Springs Road. He pulled in behind the vehicle, ran its tag on his in-car computer, and it came back as stolen out of Lexington County. Watkins activated his warning lights and to his surprise, the driver of the car pulled over and stopped. “I was shocked he stopped when I found out who was behind the wheel and what all he had in the car,” Watkins said. “It really was amazing he was of sound enough mind not to take off running.”
Ware was driving and had several passengers in the car with him. A check of his record found that he was driving under suspension for the 3rd time and was listed as a habitual offender. Additionally, because the value of the car was in excess of $10,000, the charges that are associated with its theft are a felony.
Inside the car, Watkins and the other officer located a pistol that was stolen in Michigan in 1982! There were also multiple bags of methamphetamine and a number of hypodermic needles spread all over the car. Ware was taken into custody and was booked into the LCDC later that night. The passengers were released because they were cooperative and had none of the items in their possession.