Bond set at $1 million for man accused in several store robberies

Jerry Ernest Ballard, Candice Lajoy Collins and Clinton Elton Atkins.
Jerry Ernest Ballard, Candice Lajoy Collins and Clinton Elton Atkins.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Bond was set at $1 million for a 29-year-old man accused of four armed robberies in North Charleston.

Jerry Ernest Ballard had already been given a $500,000 bond earlier on Thursday for an armed robbery at a Circle K in West Ashley Saturday morning.

"I tried to make this situation as comfortable as possible," said Ballard when describing the robberies.

10 employees from those convenience stores showed up to bond court.  One of the victims says Ballard fired a gun at her.

"The bullet flew right by my head," said the victim.

Along with Ballard, 32-year-old Clinton Elton Atkins and 31-year-old Candice Lajoy Collins were charged in the incident. Atkins received a bond of $550,000 and Collins' bond was set at $250,000.

Collins also received a $160,000 bond Thursday night for her role in two robberies in North Charleston.

Police say Atkins, Ballard and Collins each played a roll in a number of armed robberies of multiple convenience stores spread throughout Charleston and North Charleston.

According to investigators, Collins drove Ballard and Atkins to the Kangaroo on 1805 Savannah Highway at 12:45 a.m. this past Saturday. Authorities say the two men, armed with guns, then went into the store and robbed it of money and cigarettes.

Investigators said that Ballard is charged with at least six robberies in North Charleston since May 28. Police say in one of the robberies, the suspect entered the Circle K on 8410 Dorchester Road on May 28, pointed a black revolver at the clerk and made his way to the register.

According to police, the suspect then demanded the clerk to dump all the money on the counter and place it into a bag. The suspect then took off with the money.

Investigators say information obtained during the investigation led to identifying Ballard as a suspect.

Authorities charged Ballard with three counts of armed robbery, three counts of attempted armed robbery, six counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and one count of attempted murder.

Police say Ballard may also be responsible for robberies in Charleston and Goose Creek. North Charleston investigators are working with the two agencies.

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