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Another charge added for Hilton Head burglary suspect who led deputies on chase

A map of many of the locations Beaufort County Sheriff's investigators say were burgled in a manner similar to the method they accuse Steven Crabtree, inset, of using. DNA evidence appears to link Crabtree to some of the crimes.
A map of many of the locations Beaufort County Sheriff's investigators say were burgled in a manner similar to the method they accuse Steven Crabtree, inset, of using. DNA evidence appears to link Crabtree to some of the crimes. Staff illustration
A man charged Thursday in connection with recent break-ins at Hilton Head businesses and leading officers on a chase was accused Friday of burglarizing a home on the island.

He could also face more charges, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating a string of more than 20 business burglaries on the island since August. All have a similar pattern -- a brick or rock thrown through a glass door and cash and items stolen.

After leading deputies on a chase on a bicycle Thursday morning, Steven Crabtree, 30, of Hilton Head was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree burglary in connection with break-ins at Faces Day Spa and Hair Designs between Oct. 9 and 10.

On Friday, he was charged with breaking into a rental home on Dune Lane on Sept. 25, while the occupants were sleeping, and stealing cash and other small items worth about $500, a news release said Friday. DNA evidence matched Crabtree to that crime and the two salon break-ins, according to the Sheriff's Office.

"By all accounts this person was very busy," Capt. Bob Bromage said Friday.

Crabtree has been arrested locally at least 19 times, according to court and jail records.

His lengthy criminal record, which stretches back more than a decade, includes convictions for fraud, possession of stolen property, forgery, drug possession, assault, possession of a stolen handgun, and burglary.

"The word I would use to describe Steven Crabtree is 'recidivist'," Bromage said.

Over the past two months, a sheriff's task force has been investigating the series of burglaries, which Bromage said "stands out as one of the longer (burglary strings) on the island" in recent years.

Several of the incidents occurred on the same night.

On Sept. 20, a suspect tried to break into businesses on Palmetto Parkway, Mathews Drive and Plaza Drive.

A week later, businesses on Nature's Way, Main Street and Pembrook Drive were struck on a single night.

On Oct. 13, two businesses on William Hilton Parkway and one on Mathews Drive were broken into.

The names of all of the businesses were not available Friday.

Investigators are “still analyzing DNA from other burglary cases that are believed to be related,” Bromage said. He said the office was able to match the DNA quickly through its own lab, a process that could take up to a year if it had to send the evidence to an outside lab.

The events leading to Crabtree's arrest Thursday began when a rock was thrown through a window at the Island Bagel Co. at South Island Square.

An employee of the shop reported seeing the suspect walking west toward Palmetto Dunes.

Deputies began a search and then chased a man on a bicycle through Palmetto Dunes toward Hilton Head Resort on the cart path at the Trent Jones golf course. He was later seen on the bicycle in a neighborhood off Singleton Beach Road. Deputies ran after him into a wooded area off Henry Lane, where he ditched the bicycle, which later turned out to be stolen, a release said.

At about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, he was arrested by deputies after jumping some fences, according to the release. He was also charged with fleeing to evade arrest and possession of narcotics and marijuana.

Crabtree is being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center on a $101,092 bond.

Follow reporter Lucas High on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Lucas.

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