Charleston police announces arrests in downtown jewelry heist
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the Charleston Police Department have announced the arrests of two people in connection to a downtown jewelry heist where close than a million dollars worth of merchandise was stolen.
Investigators said 35-year-old Charles Eloys Johnson of San Leandro, Calif. and 34-year-old Aquabeus Demond Moore of Riverdale, Ga. have been charged with armed robbery.
Police say the arrests were made on Tuesday and Wednesday, and other arrests are expected in connection to the March 4 armed robbery of Demetre Jewelers on 253 King Street.
Johnson is being held in San Francisco while Moore in Atlanta; both are awaiting extradition to Charleston.
CPD officials said both of the suspects are career criminals with one of them having a possible connection to the Lowcountry.
According to Charleston authorities, the arrests are the result of a collaborative effort between local and federal law enforcement agencies.
Police say the jewelry, valued at $700,000, has yet to be recovered; an earlier CPD report stated that the merchandise had been valued at $1.05 million.
Authorities say two male subjects, one armed with a hammer and the other with a gun, robbed Demetre Jewelers at 11:23 a.m. on March 24. According to police, one of the suspects ordered an employee to the ground, while the other broke the case and stole Rolex watches. The hammer was used to smash a showcase, said CPD spokesman Charles Francis.
The pair left the store with an estimated $1.05 million in merchandise, according to the incident report.
Charleston police recovered a van, a green, two-tone Pontiac Montana, they say was used in the robbery. The van was located in downtown Charleston on 30 Coming Street.
Forensic evidence belonging to Moore was recovered from the van, CPD officials say.
Detectives learned someone using a fraudulent Illinois driver's license in the name of "Adam White" purchased the van on March 3 from a car dealership in Lawrenceville, Ga. The investigation revealed that the telephone number provided by the buyer belonged to Johnson who lives in Oakland.
According to information provided by the California Highway Patrol, Johnson is a suspect in similar robberies that have occurred in California since November 2014.
Folks who work at nearby businesses were shocked to hear what happened.
"It just happened basically right in front of our faces, pretty bold," said Erin Rice who manages Palm Avenue next door to Demetre Jewelers.
"You think you're safe because but down here you have no clue, you have no clue at all, come in with a hammer in the daytime. It's gonna blow your mind," said Justin Hansen who manages Old Town Restaurant.
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