West Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) – The West Columbia Police Department is investigating an armed robbery that occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 14th. The robbery took place at Ronnie’s Jewelry on 12th Street in the heart of Triangle City.
According to police, a black man wearing a beige Dickie jacket with a hood entered the store with a surgical mask on his face as if he were ill. An employee tried to assist him, but he asked to speak with the owner. There were customers in the store the owner was helping so he waited for them to leave. Once they were gone, he spoke to the owner and demanded all the money from the cash register and his desk. While he was doing this, he made the employee sit on the floor and wait. The suspect had his hand in his pocket in a manner that made the store’s owner and employee feel as if he had a weapon. The store’s owner complied with his demand, giving him all the cash on hand.
At that point, he forced the owner and employee to the rear of the store and demanded they open the safe. He took several undisclosed items from the safe before returning to the showroom. There, he used an object that belonged to the business to smash a jewelry case. He scooped out some merchandise before forcing the employee to hand over his car keys. He fled around the store to the parking area on foot, quickly plundered through the owner’s car, and then stole the employee’s car he had the keys for.
Officers arrived on the scene quickly and found the employees had locked the door to barricade themselves inside. Once the men saw the police were on scene, they opened the locks that allowed them to enter. They immediately described the car as a 2000 Toyota Avalon that is white. They were also able to provide a description of the robber and the direction of travel the man took when he fled in the stolen car.
The suspect was described as a light-skinned black man who is approximately 5’9” tall and weighs about 140 pounds. Officers quickly put out a notice to surrounding jurisdictions so they could watch for the man and car. They set up a perimeter and had cruisers circulate the area searching for the suspect and the vehicle.
As of Friday, the police had not located the man. Their work on the case continues. If you have any information that can help, please call CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-888-CRIME SC. You can also make tips at midlandscrimestoppers.com of through their free P3 app that’s available for Apple or Android.