Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – The burglary of a convenience store at 648 Columbia Avenue in Chapin caused the area to be flooded by law enforcement from several agencies early Saturday. According to Chapin Police Chief Seth Zeigler, his officers who responded to the break-in at the Pitt Stop were assisted by units and K-9s from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and a trooper from the SC Highway Patrol.
Chief Zeigler said Saturday morning that Chapin Police Officer Gainous was on patrol just before 3:00 a.m. Saturday when he received the report of a glass break alarm at the store near I-26. As luck would have it, a SC State Trooper was at a nearby station finishing some routine maintenance on his cruiser. He was apparently in the car when the burglar almost walked up on him. The suspect finally recognized the patrol car at the last moment and turned and fled into the woods on foot. The trooper got a look at the man and noted his direction of travel as he ran.
The trooper didn’t foot chase the suspect into the woods because at this point, he was still alone. It is extremely unsafe for a single officer to chase a suspect into a dark area without backup. That suspect might be armed and lying in wait. In the end, that trooper’s identification of the suspect may prove crucial when the suspect is apprehended.
Officer Gainous arrived within a moment and spoke with the trooper. He told Gainous that the burglar was a man wearing a mask across his face with a hoodie on. He could see a sack of cigarettes cartons as the man turned and ran. The trooper told Gainous he was inside his car but became suspicious because the suspect was on foot and had the mask across his face. At Gainous’ request, the trooper began a roving patrol of Columbia Avenue while deputies from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department converged on the area and helped establish a perimeter.
Eventually, a K-9 handler from Lexington County arrived. The dog was set on a track, but that search proved fruitless. After some point, the perimeter was abandoned, and officers decided to continue through investigatory means. Any evidence was gathered, and video footage was reviewed.
Chief Zeigler said he will probably release video footage at some point in the investigation. He said he appreciated the assistance of the SCHP and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department for all their help with search.
If you have any idea who committed this crime, call CRIME STOPPERS at 1-888-CRIME SC.