SWAT team comes up empty in search for armed robber

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Authorities spent three hours searching for a suspect who robbed Lyerly's Cleaners Wednesday on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard.

"I don't think I'm going to cut through this way anymore," said Kristin Fowler of West Ashley.

When Fowler gets off work from O'Charley's in West Ashley, she usually rides her bike through the Maryville neighborhood to save time. But on this commute, she saw something she never expected. She saw an approaching SWAT team, a Charleston police officer crouched in a ditch with a rifle and a police department robot creeping up the road.

"You don't think of that kind of stuff going on around here," Fowler said.

Lyerly's Cleaners was robbed around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon. Police say an officer spotted a man matching the robber's description riding a bike down Diana Street. According to authorities, when the man saw the officer, he ran behind a house.

They said the back door to the house was open, and the officer assumed the man was hiding inside.

The SWAT team truck rolled in, and members spent almost an hour searching inside the house.

A spokesmen with the police department says the suspect was not inside the home.

Many residents say they've never seen anything like this in their neighborhood before.

"I think I'll take the long was from now on," Fowler said.

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