Beaufort News

Hair salon robbery suspect found under St. Helena mobile home

Colby Coker
Colby Coker

A man found hiding under a mobile home Monday on St. Helena Island was charged with robbing a Beaufort apartment office at gunpoint and trying to rob a Port Royal hair salon more than a month ago.

Colby Travell Coker, 24, was arrested at the mobile home on Sebring Drive in a joint operation among the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, Beaufort Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service.

Coker is accused of robbing a woman at gunpoint July 23 at Wilderness Cove Apartments in Beaufort. He walked into an administrative office to pick up an apartment application but came back 20 minutes later with a pistol and stole jewelry and money from her, according to a Beaufort Police Department news release.

Less than two weeks later, on Aug. 4, Coker was identified as one of two suspects who attempted to rob Mardi Gras Weave Xpress on Savannah Highway in Port Royal, police say. Coker allegedly pointed a gun at three women in the shop and demanded money, but he and the other suspect left empty-handed after the women escaped to nearby businesses and called police, authorities say.

The women and witnesses from the nearby businesses identified Coker in a photo lineup, but the second suspect still has not been identified, according to Port Royal police Sgt. A.J. Massey.

Warrants for Coker's arrest were issued in both Beaufort and Port Royal. He was charged Monday with armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, unlawful carrying of a pistol, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and criminal conspiracy.

The Marshals Service was asked to help find Coker because local authorities believed he might have been outside Beaufort County, therefore outside their jurisdiction, and because he was thought to be armed and dangerous, Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy said. Coker also has been convicted of grand larceny in Hampton County, Clancy said.

Coker admitted to the crimes but said the gun was only a toy, Massey said Tuesday after interviewing Coker at the Beaufort County Detention Center. Although the weapon used in the crimes was never recovered, Massey said, a toy would still be considered a weapon if it was used to intimidate and rob victims.

Authorities don't think Coker was living in the St. Helena mobile home where he was captured, Clancy said, and it's not clear what he was doing there. The Beaufort County Detention Center indicates he lives in Port Royal.

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