4 arrested in connection to stolen vehicles, break-ins in Sumter, Clarendon counties


The Sumter County Sheriff's Office, along with the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office, made arrests regarding several vehicle break-ins and stolen vehicles in the Sumter County and Clarendon County area Aug. 9-13.

On Aug. 9, at approximately 3 a.m., Clarendon County Sheriff's Office deputies received a dispatch call in reference to a vehicle break-in in progress on Peggy Lane in the Manning area.

A deputy was in the immediate area of the call and responded to investigate. The deputy observed a small SUV on Peggy Lane, and when the deputy pulled in behind it, the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed, according to a news release. Less than half a mile later, the SUV wrecked while attempting to turn onto S.C. 260 off Peggy Lane, disabling the vehicle.

According to the release, four Black males left the vehicle and fled into a wooded area behind a residence, and one dropped a loaded handgun in the roadway while exiting the vehicle.

Additional sheriff's office units, along with units from the Manning Police Department, were quickly on the scene to assist, as well as Clarendon County investigators and the K-9 Tracking Team. SLED was also contacted to assist with the K-9 tracking operations.

A short time after establishing a perimeter area and starting tracking operations, Robert Smith, 20, came out of the wooded area and turned himself over to law enforcement, the release said. The tracking operations continued into the daylight hours.

Shortly after daylight, another suspect, William Nelson, 19, was apprehended in the Country Club area of Clarendon County after calls were dispatched in reference to a suspicious person in the area, the release said. No other suspects were located on this date.

The SUV the suspects drove was reported stolen from the Richland County area, according to the release. Items were also located inside the vehicle, which were discovered to have come from other vehicles and residences on Peggy Lane.

Throughout the search time period, numerous vehicles were broken into during the nighttime hours, according to officers and victims' reports, the release said. Three vehicles were also reported stolen during the night.

A 2005 GMC blue pickup truck was recovered by law enforcement officers in a different location from where it was stolen.

The locations where the numerous incidents occurred were in the Peggy Lane area, the Buckhorn area and the S.C. 260 area of Clarendon County. Approximately 18 vehicles were broken into that night, the release said. The two vehicles not recovered were a 2018 black GMC Yukon and a 2014 burgundy GMC Yukon.

On Sunday, Aug. 9, the Sumter County Sheriff's Office observed the 2018 black GMC Yukon and attempted to stop it. After a short chase, two Black male suspects ran from the vehicle.

Sumter deputies apprehended one suspect, Audante Wilson, 24, and recovered the stolen vehicle, according to the release.

On Aug. 12, Sumter deputies arrested a fourth suspect, Azavius Jones, 18, when the Sumter County Sheriff's Office and the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at his residence in Hibiscus Mobile Home Park, the release said. The 2014 burgundy GMC Yukon was recovered by Sumter County Sheriff's Office in the same area as the residence.

On Aug. 13, Sumter County investigators executed a search warrant at another residence in Hibiscus Mobile Home Park, where deputies recovered items reportedly stolen from both Sumter and Clarendon counties, the release said. Sumter County investigators are still identifying property recovered in Crowndale, Brookgreen, Lee's Preserve and Squaw Valley neighborhoods in Sumter County.

"The positive results of the investigation are due to the great communication across jurisdictions between Sumter and Clarendon counties," Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said. "This is how law enforcement agencies should work together."

The Clarendon County Sheriff's Office thinks other suspects may still be at large in these cases. This is still an active, ongoing investigation, and more charges are pending.

Anyone with any information about these cases is asked to contact the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office at (803) 435-4414, Sumter County Sheriff's Office at (803) 436-2000 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372). You do not have to reveal your identity to leave information.