A northern Beaufort County couple were robbed in their home Tuesday while getting their three children ready for school and were forced to leave with the robbers while the children stayed behind, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
A 36-year-old man and his 31-year-old girlfriend told deputies that two men -- one armed with a crowbar, the other with a handgun -- broke into their Kinloch Road home in Dale, a community north of Beaufort, at about 8:15 a.m. and demanded money. They struck the man repeatedly with the handgun and the crowbar before taking $150 in cash, according to a sheriff report.
The suspects -- one of whom was later identified as Aaron Jamal Covington, 21, of Yemassee -- demanded the couple leave their children behind and get into the woman's car with them, the report said. The men ordered the woman to drive.
As they neared the intersection of Kinloch and Keans Neck roads, the male victim jumped from the moving car and ran to a nearby relative's home to call authorities, according to the Sheriff's Office.
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The woman kept driving until she was ordered by the men to stop in the area of Jenkins Road and Bull Corner Road. The suspects then ran off, leaving the woman unharmed.
Authorities have not yet identified the second suspect. Both men were still at-large Wednesday evening.
The male victim was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for a cut to the back of his head, the report said. The children were not injured.
Attempts to reach the family Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said investigators know why the home and the family were targeted, but declined to release that information Wednesday.
The suspects face charges of first-degree burglary and armed robbery, with additional warrants still pending including kidnapping, authorities said.
Covington is out on probation in connection with an April armed robbery, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center log.
Tanner said Tuesday's robbery illustrates the need to aggressively prosecute repeat offenders.
"These are career criminals," Tanner said. "This is their job. This is what they do every day. The only place for these types of offenders is in custody, in a controlled environment. (Covington) was on probation for armed robbery. What's that doing for the community as a whole?"