Beaufort County sheriff’s investigators are looking for a 22-year-old New York man they say is responsible for a pair of armed robberies on St. Helena Island last week.
Investigators have identified Julius Presley Rooks of Freeville, N.Y., as a suspect in the Dec. 21 armed robbery of the Express Lane on Sea Island Parkway and the Dec. 23 attempted armed robbery and shooting of 59-year-old Jay Patel, owner of Island Plaza, also on Sea Island Parkway, according to a news release today. The suspect also goes by the name, Rooks McBean, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators say that at about 6:20 p.m. on Dec. 21, two black males — one later identified as Julius Rooks — entered the Express Lane carrying a handgun and what appeared to be a sawed-off shotgun. The men demanded money and then ran off after being given an undisclosed amount of cash by the clerk, the release said.
Two nights later at about 11 p.m., Rooks and an unidentified Hispanic male entered the Island Plaza where Patel was working behind the counter, the release said. Rooks approached Patel, demanded money and then shot Patel in the chest, the release said. Both suspects fled without stealing any money, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Patel’s condition was not disclosed Tuesday.
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Rooks is currently wanted on two counts of armed robbery, one count of assault and battery with intent to kill, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. He might be driving a silver 1997 Lexus ES300 with New York license plates, according to investigators.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with any information regarding Rooks’ whereabouts or information about his unidentified accomplices to contact Investigator Cpl. Brian Chapman at 843-470-3469, Investigator Cpl. Jason Fraser at 843-470-3267, or the Beaufort County Dispatch Center at 843-524-2777.