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Three teens arrested in pawn shop break-in

Posted: January 20, 2011 4:31 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2011 5:00 a.m.

An alarm, an alert Camden Police Department (CPD) patrolman and a bad tire rim led to the arrest of three Cassatt teenagers early Thursday morning.

CPD Patrolman William C. Anderson was patrolling Camden’s Dusty Bend area around 2:15 a.m. Thursday when he heard an alarm coming from Reel Gun & Pawn on North Broad Street. He immediately checked the outside of the building and saw someone had broken through the brick exterior wall to gain access to the business.

“A burgundy colored Dodge Caravan pulled into the parking lot behind me, slammed on the brakes and left the area at a high rate of speed traveling north on Broad Street,” Anderson wrote in his report.

Believing those in the van might have something to do with the break-in, Anderson activated his blue lights and began pursuit. He reported the occupants failed to stop, leading him on a chase to Westville. The chase appeared to end at the intersection of U.S. 521 and Church Road.

But appearances were deceiving.

“I pulled up alongside the vehicle and a KCSO (Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office) deputy pulled in front of the suspects,” wrote Anderson. “Instead of surrendering, the driver again pulled away, turning right down Church Road … a dead end dirt road.”

Anderson reported the driver drove around the last mobile home and went back out to U.S. 521, making a left turn and heading north again. Both he and the KCSO deputy followed with blue lights and sirens.

At some point, according to Anderson, the van’s left front tire came off the rim, but the driver managed to continue, turning left on Pine Tree Drive and then left again on a cut-through back to U.S. 521. There, the van crossed the highway and headed east on Payne Pond Road where the van’s tire rim finally separated from the axle, forcing the driver into a ditch.

All three occupants -- later identified as Marquis Dapree Williams, 19, of Elliott Hunter Road, Cassatt; and brothers Brandon and Austin Pownall, 19 and 17, respectively, of Maggie Avenue, Cassatt -- jumped out of the van and headed into the woods.

The KCSO tracking team was called to the scene and a perimeter set up with assistance from KCSO and Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office units.

KCSO Capt. Ed Corey said the tracking team spent about two hours on the suspects’ trail.

“At least an hour and a half,” Corey said. “They went into the woods, came out and stayed at the tree line.”

The tracking team found the three teens, all of whom were transported to the county jail by KCSO deputies and Anderson.

CPD Chief Joe Floyd -- Corey’s former boss -- said the KCSO tracking team “did a really good job for us and helping us on the perimeter.”

Corey said the S.C. Law Enforcement Division was also ready to put a helicopter into the air.

“But we cancelled the call before they got in the air,” said Corey.

Anderson recovered a 12 gauge shotgun identified as the only item taken from the pawn shop.

“It happened to be the only one out they could grab,” said Floyd. “It appears guns were all they were interested in.”

Anderson also recovered a sledgehammer that was apparently used to break through Reel Pawn & Gun’s wall. The van was registered to a Cassatt woman; it was unclear at press time whether it had been stolen or belonged to the suspects.

Floyd said Williams and the Pownalls were being interviewed Thursday morning to determine if they had been involved in any other criminal activity. Corey said he was not sure if the KCSO had files on any of the suspects.

And Corey returned Floyd’s praise for his new team.

“It was very good to work hand-in-hand with the CPD; we have very good relations with them,” said Corey.

Floyd said he was glad that if a crime had to occur at all it turned out the way it did.

“Everything worked out well,” he said. “(Anderson) hearing (the alarm) and going right there -- the perimeter being set up -- nobody was hurt and the bad guys were caught.”

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