BLUFFTON

VIDEO: Manhunt breaks out in Bluffton after burglar escapes

astice@islandpacket.comNovember 28, 2012 

A Beaufort County sheriff's deputy walks along Fernlakes Drive in Bluffton during a manhunt Wednesday after an attempted burglary in the Fernlakes subdivision.

SARAH WELLIVER

A Bluffton resident who discovered a burglary in progress at his home held a suspect at gunpoint Wednesday afternoon, as a second suspect jumped into a nearby pond and swam away.

The escaped suspect set off a manhunt at about 2:30 p.m. near the homeowner's Fernlakes Drive residence. Sheriff P.J. Tanner said late Wednesday that deputies are still searching for him and have a "pretty good idea" of who he is.

Beaufort County Sheriff's Office officials believe the escaped suspect stole several firearms during the burglary, and they warned residents and business owners along Burnt Church Road, May River Road and Bluffton Parkway to stay inside.

Scores of deputies surrounded those roads and the Fernlakes subdivision Wednesday afternoon, as they set up a perimeter and sent their K9 Tracking Team in search of the suspect.

The second suspect was described only as a male wearing dark clothing, which would be wet from swimming in the pond.

The first suspect detained by the homeowner apparently tried to flee as well. Sgt. Robin McIntosh said he was caught outside of the resident's home because he could not swim. He is in custody, Tanner said. As of press time, the suspect was not yet listed in the Beaufort County Detention Center jail log.

During the manhunt, reporters were directed to wait on Burnt Church Road. A deputy denied The Island Packet's request to speak to the homeowner outside of the Fernlakes Drive home.

A woman reached by telephone at the home Wednesday evening said the family declined comment.

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