An extensive manhunt led to the capture of a man accused of robbing an Orangeburg County family in its home, including kidnapping and armed robbery, according to Sheriff Leroy Ravenell.
“This has been a nightmare for this family,” Ravenell said. “They were burglarized twice and threatened with a firearm at least once – and in their own home.”
Marshal Spence Meeks, 20, of Lexington County has been charged with two counts of first-degree burglary, armed robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of petit larceny and one count of malicious injury to real property.
Meeks was taken into custody Sunday night following a weekend manhunt conducted by the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the U.S. Marshals Service.
During a court hearing on Monday, bond was deferred to a circuit court judge at a later date.
The Crystal Springs Road man had been sought since Orangeburg County Sheriff’s investigators developed him as the suspect in a pair of Orangeburg County burglaries.
On Nov. 24, an Orangeburg County woman told investigators that around 7:15 a.m. she went into her kitchen where she spotted a man inside the home brandishing a handgun.
While pointing a weapon at the woman and her teenage daughter, the gunman demanded her purse. He took financial transaction cards as well as some jewelry and prescription drugs.
The woman later called investigators back to say someone had broken into her former residence. A big screen TV was missing.
During Monday’s hearing, the homeowner told the court that a weapon was pointed at her daughter.
“That is beyond devastating,” she said.
Ravenell said the motive behind the burglaries is believed to be theft.
The sheriff thanked the U.S. Marshals, SLED, and Lexington County for their help in bringing in Meeks.
“You can see the urgency behind the large manhunt being that this suspect pointed a weapon at two innocent victims who hadn’t harmed him in any way,” Ravenell said. “But he threatens her with a firearm for what? A little change from her purse and a debit card.”
Investigator Steven Thompson is leading the ongoing investigation.