BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley county investigators say two men arrested for stealing an ATM in St. Stephen Monday morning may have done the same crime in Orangeburg county three days ago.
Sheriff's deputies say the suspects, Joseph Cobb of St. George and Ernest Davis of Orangeburg led them on a 46-mile chase that ended when the SUV crashed and overturned in Mt. Pleasant. Cobb, who was driving, was found trapped under the ATM.
The ATM was stolen from the Citgo gas station on Highway 52 in St. Stephen. Berkeley County deputies say the two men broke the glass on the front door to get inside at approximately 3 a.m. Monday.
Investigators say the duo hooked up chains to the machine, and attached the chains to their SUV to rip the ATM from its foundation.
A deputy tried to stop the SUV near Hwy 402 but the driver kept going, deputies say. The occupants of the vehicle were throwing credit cards and a firearm out onto the road as they continued on, according to deputies.
Deputies deployed tire-deflation devices on the Ford Explorer as it was passing through Huger. This caused the Ford Explorer to slow considerably but the vehicle continued to refuse to stop.
The SUV lead the deputy through the back roads of Berkeley County until it hit another vehicle, flipped and caught fire at Hwy 41 and Hwy 17 in Mount Pleasant, just before 4 a.m.
Deputies were able to extinguish the fire and rescue the two suspects inside. That's when they found the stolen ATM from the St. Stephen Citgo, the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office says.
The motorists in the vehicle that was hit were not injured.
It happened about an hour before Linda Douglas arrived for her shift at the store.
"I was shocked. I was shocked. With all that's going on in the world today it's nothing new, but I was kind of shocked to see that it would happen here," Douglas said.
Regular customer Christopher Jenkins was angry when he heard about the ATM theft.
"This man runs an honest business and I don't think nobody should come in and abuse their property," Jenkins said. "I think it's foolish and I think they need to go to jail for what they did."
"I'm glad no one was here when it happened because someone could have gotten hurt, it could have been worse than what it turned out to be," Douglas said.
Cobb and Davis are being treated at MUSC.
Deputies say both have long criminal records and that Cobb was released from prison last year.
Hwy 17 N in the area of Hamlin and Dingle roads was shut down as officers responded.