2 Bluffton men arrested -- again -- for burglary

astice@islandpacket.comMay 31, 2012 

Two Bluffton men arrested after a string of burglaries of Bluffton-area businesses last fall were arrested again Monday on similar charges -- less than two weeks after being released from prison.

Steven Lamar Stapleton, 39, and Alexander Staple, 33, were charged with felony burglary in December after undercover investigators bought computers from them that were stolen from two businesses during a rash of more than 30 break-ins.

Both were convicted of receiving stolen goods, served 161 days and were released from prison May 22. Although evidence connected both men to the stolen items, no evidence put them at the scene of those burglaries, said the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office in explaining the prison term.

Recently, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office received DNA test results indicating Stapleton was involved in an Oct. 25 burglary at Resort Appliance in Bluffton, according to Sgt. Robin McIntosh.

When deputies arrived Monday at the home the men share in Shady Glen to arrest Stapleton on a warrant for second-degree burglary, he hid inside the home, McIntosh said.

After they entered the home to arrest him, deputies saw items in plain view that had been stolen Sunday from Stock Farm Antiques on May River Road, McIntosh said. Because the items were in Staple's bedroom, he was arrested, too.

Staple was charged with receiving stolen goods and, if convicted, faces stiffer-than-usual penalties under a state law that applies to those convicted of three or more property crimes.

The Bluffton Police Department is investigating the Stock Farm Antiques burglary. At about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, the glass door of the store was kicked in, and about $1,800 worth of antiques taken from a case, said department spokesman Sgt. Joe Babkiewicz.

Although Stock Farm Antiques owners identified all the items found in Staple's room, Staple has not yet been charged with that burglary, Babkiewicz said.

"The way it works when you catch someone with stolen items from a burglary is you have to be able to put them at the scene, unless they admit to doing it," Babkiewicz said. "(Staple) didn't admit to it, so we're examining evidence and checking video cameras in the area to see if we can put him there."

Both men are being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center. Staple's bond is $20,000.

Stapleton's bond is $15,000, according to the jail log.

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