DNA links Ga. inmate to Bluffton jewelry store robbery, police say

newsroom@islandpacket.comMay 16, 2014 

STAFF ILLUSTRATION

A Georgia inmate participating in a work-release program has been identified as a suspect in the armed robbery of a Bluffton jewelry store last week, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office announced Friday.

On the morning of May 7, Curstation McRae, 41, of Atlanta reportedly checked out of the Atlanta Transitional Center to go to work, but instead traveled to Bluffton with another, unidentified person, a Sheriff's Office news release said. The pair is accused of robbing Kay Jewelers at Tanger Outlet Center 1 at gunpoint, taking about $806,000 in jewelry.

Beaufort County forensic analysts collected DNA from the store and found a match with McRae, the release said.

He was reportedly convicted in 2003 for his participation in a string of armed robberies of jewelry stores, spanning at least four states between 2001 and 2003. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison and was transferred to the transitional center in February to await his August release, according to the Sheriff's Office.

On May 7, McRae and another suspect -- one of them was carrying a gun -- bound employees with duct tape, robbed the Bluffton store, and stole a manager's vehicle, the release said.

The vehicle and jewelry have not been recovered.

McRae was sent back to a secure facility, where he will remain until he is charged with armed robbery, three counts of kidnapping and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Additional charges may follow, the release said.

Beaufort County investigators are in Atlanta working to identify the second suspect.

Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers at 888-CRIME-SC (274-6372) or text the word TIPSC with a message to CRIMES (274637).

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