A 28-year-old Denmark man will spend the rest of his life in prison after a Bamberg County jury convicted him of first-degree burglary on Wednesday.
Assistant 2nd Circuit Solicitor R. Jackson Cooper said the jury deliberated nine minutes before they convicted Randy Chestnut of 20566 Heritage Highway of breaking into a Denmark home.
He stole a 65-inch television.
A Denmark child discovered the burglary when she returned home from school on Dec. 6, 2018. The backdoor of the home was open.
In a panic, the child went to her mother’s workplace, which was nearby, Cooper said.
The homeowners’ motion-activated surveillance system partially captured images of the burglar.
The family provided the video to local news media, Cooper said.
North police officer Anita Chestnut saw the video and recognized her brother.
She then showed the video to North Police Chief Lin Shirer and he called Lt. Laquan Linder of the Denmark Police Department, Cooper said.
On Dec. 18, 2018, Officer Chestnut and Linder met to discuss the video.
While Linder conducted routine patrol of a gas station in Denmark on Dec. 19, Randy Chestnut approached her and said, “Yo, Quan, my sister said I needed to talk with you.”
The conversation between Linder and Chestnut wasn’t recorded, but Linder claimed that he told her he “took” what was his from the Denmark home.
Linder obtained a warrant charging Chestnut with burglary.
Denmark police arrested Chestnut for an unrelated assault charge in January.
While Chestnut remained at the Bamberg County Detention Center, prosecutors decided to listen to his phone calls.
Cooper said that in one of the calls, Chestnut told a woman that he was wearing gloves “the whole time.”
Cooper said that matched the recorded video surveillance at the burglarized Denmark home.
Chestnut was previously convicted of first-offense third-degree burglary in 2008.
He pleaded guilty to four felonies in 2010: armed robbery, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and two counts of non-violent second-degree burglary. Judge Doyet A. Early III sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
Cooper said Chestnut was released on May 1, 2018.
Now Chestnut will spend the rest of his life in prison, without any chance of parole.
Michael Emmer, of the solicitor’s office, assisted in prosecuting the case.