BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The search continues for two suspects investigators say robbed a Walterboro Waffle House, then led authorities on a chase from Santee into Berkeley County.
Berkeley County deputies are assisting officers from Walterboro Police and Santee Police in the search.
"Right now we're just telling them to continue on with their lives but just be vigilant and open and make sure you do lock their cars and outbuildings in their homes," Berkeley County Sheriff's Maj. David Brabham said. "If they suspect anybody has tampered with anything in their house or their surrounding area to please give them a call and we don't mind clearing that for them."
The incident began when officers from the Walterboro Police Department responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Waffle House in the 1600 block of Bells Highway.
Investigators say two masked men entered the restaurant with firearms and demanded money. A witness later told police he saw two men in hoodies get into a dark-colored newer body Chevrolet Camaro.
While the investigation continued, an officer with the Santee Police Department in Orangeburg County reported seeing a vehicle matching the description of the one used by the suspects and attempted to initiate a traffic stop.
The vehicle fled from officers and later wrecked in Berkeley County.
At that point, investigators said the suspects fled on foot.
"We started where the vehicle actually wrecked into the swamp area. We know that suspects fled from the vehicle there," Brabham said. "We had a K9 search, an air search by Charleston County Sheriff's Office, air unit and ground units with people actually going door to door."
Nearby J.K. Gourdin Elementary School in Pineville went on lockdown at approximately 7:45 a.m. Thursday, according to Berkeley County School District spokesperson Cicely McCray. The school remained on lockdown for much of the day.
Shortly after noon, law enforcement focused on the Pineville Post Office.
The search for the suspects continued into the afternoon.
"Typically in an incident like this with this much time that's in between the beginning and right now, sometimes they're able to contact some sort of an accomplice to come pick them up at some location and escape," Brabham said.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.