CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A circuit judge sentenced a North Charleston man to 24 years in prison for two counts of burglary, calling him one of Charleston County's "most notorious" criminals.
Shawndell McClenton, 35, was convicted on April 22 on two counts of first degree burglary and one count of breaking and entering a motor vehicle, according to a release from Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman referenced McClenton's criminal past and multiple pending charges and called him, "one of the most notorious criminals in Charleston County," Wilson said. Newman sentenced McClenton to 24 years in prison on the burglaries and five years on the breaking an entering charge, according to court documents.
The charges were in connection with a February 25, 2012, incident in which McClenton, Dawn Lee, and their infant son traveled from their home to a James Island condominium complex, Wilson says. According to court documents, Lee was accused of parking the car while McClenton entered two units, one through an unsecured window and the other by prying open a patio door.
Court documents state McClenton took a purse from the first unit and jewelry, electronics, wine and clothing from the second, then took a spare car key from the second unit and entered the vehicle of the homeowner looking to pilfer more.
Wilson says alert neighbors noticed the suspicious activity and called police, who took up strategic positions and captured the pair less than a mile from the condominiums.
"The neighbors were looking out for one another and did the exact right thing by notifying authorities," Assistant Solicitor Timmy Finch said. "So many times people turn an eye to crime, but they acted. We couldn't have done it without them."
While no evidence could link McClenton to the inside of either unit, circumstantial evidence was "overwhelming," according to Assistant Solicitor Greg Voigt who tried the case with Finch.