From top-left to bottom-right: Shake Curry, Marqual Griffin, Eli Torrence and Maleta Waters. (Laurens and Pickens Co. Detention Centers)
LAURENS, SC (FOX Carolina) -
One Upstate sheriff said thieves from all over the Upstate are coming to his county to steal and make a quick getaway.
Deputies have arrested 18-year-old Shake Curry, 21-year-old Marqual Griffin, 17-year-old Maleta Waters and 21-year-old Eli Torrence, all accused of burglary.
Investigators said the foursome was busy breaking into three houses in a four mile radius in less than one hour.
Deputies said they had a plan to see if any of their victims were home before breaking in. They said first they would knock on the front door, then if someone answered, they'd simply ask them for directions, but if no one was home, they'd go to the back of the house and smash through the window with a brick.
One woman FOX Carolina spoke with said she caught them in the act. Diane Robertson said she was checking on her daughter's empty home when she saw a strange car parked in the driveway.
"I thought someone was looking for my daughter so I just drove up right beside her, then I realized the house alarm was going off," said Robertson.
Then she said she saw a three men run towards the vehicle and realized the woman was a getaway driver.
"The guys came from the back of the house and jumped into the SUV and left the driveway," said Robertson. "I was able to get the tag number."
It's that information, combined with surveillance video and other witness statements, that led investigators to the four suspects. Deputies said they all lived in Greenville, not Laurens County.
"This is the fourth case we've worked where individuals came off the interstate from other areas, it's something we see more and more often," said Sheriff Ricky Chastain.
Chastain said with Interstates 385 and 26 running through the area might allow some burglars a quick getaway out of the county. He said this group seemed to know what they were doing and that's why they believes the suspects might be involved in more cases.
"Through our investigation we believe they are responsible for other crimes such as this, not just in Laurens County," said Chastain.
That's disappointing news for the woman who helped authorities catch the suspects.
"It makes me angry, we work so hard for what we have and than somebody comes off the interstate and tries to take what you have worked for," said Robertson.
Authorities said this case is proof that when a witness spots any suspicious behavior in the neighborhood, they truly can help deputies arrest those suspects.
Curry and Griffin are being held on bond at the Laurens County Detention Center. Waters was already released on bond and Torrence is being held at the Pickens County Detention Center on several unrelated charges.
The Laurens County Sheriff's Office said they also received a lot of assistance from Greenville and Pickens County deputies to put together the case.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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