Gang activity suspected in Ridgeland car thefts

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 23, 2014 

STOCK

All four cars stolen Tuesday night from the Jasper County School District were recovered as of Wednesday night, and the four juveniles and one man accused of stealing them are suspected of being involved in a gang initiation, according to Ridgeland Police Chief Richard Woods.

Four vehicles -- a 2002 Ford Explorer, a 2008 Ford Fusion, a 2012 Chrysler 200 and a 2012 Chevy Impala -- were stolen from the district's transportation storage facility in Ridgeland, district spokeswoman Shellie Murdaugh said.

Around midnight, Port Royal police saw one of the cars speeding down Parris Island Gateway at 90 mph, Woods said. A chase followed, and the driver lost control near the entrance to Marine Recruit Depot Parris Island.

The car's occupants ran but were later apprehended, according to Woods. A warrant has been issued for a Ridgeland man suspected to be involved.

Two of the stolen vehicles were recovered Wednesday morning, and the fourth was found in woods off Bees Creek Road in Ridgeland late Wednesday, he said.

The suspects do not attend school and have been involved in a number of burglaries and car break-ins in recent months, he said. They are also suspected in a December attempted armed robbery in Ridgeland, he added.

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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