Willie Hannah and Ryan Jones

Willie Hannah (L) and Ryan Jones (R) were arrested and charged after Newberry County Deputies say they burglarized a local business, led law enforcement officials on a chase, and eventually were detained on August 13. These people are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

NEWBERRY COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) The Newberry County Sheriff's Office is crediting a concerned citizen, along with other law enforcement officers, in helping them detain two men suspected of burglarizing a business Tuesday morning. 

Deputies say they received a call from a concerned citizen just after 4 a.m., who said they observed two men breaking into Smitty's Country Store. 

When the suspects fled, the citizen followed - all the while staying on the phone, and talking to law enforcement officials. The person kept them updated on their location, and officials were soon able to catch up. 

A chase eventually ensued when the suspects noticed law enforcement pursuing them. They led deputies into the City of Newberry, where at one point they tried to hit the vehicles of other officials joining in the pursuit. 

Deputies say the suspects' van lost control when they tried to get onto I-26 at the SC-219 interchange, and came to a stop in a grassy area. Officials detained one suspect immediately, though the second fled on foot. 

Within minutes, he was also taken into custody. 

The Newberry Police Department and SCHP assisted in the chase that reached up to 90 mph. 

The two men were identified as 31-year-old Ryan Lamar Jones and 26-year-old Willie Lee Hannah II - both from the Columbia area. 

They both will face the following charges: 

  • Burglary
  • Larceny
  • Conspiracy
  • Possession of Burglary Tools

Hannah is also facing a failure to stop for law enforcement charge. Jones has a history of burglary convictions, and was on probation for burglary at the time of this crime. 

Sheriff Foster says his office is looking into the suspects' involvement in a possible criminal organization that specializes in burglaries of convenience stores across South Carolina. The investigation is in its beginning stages, and Foster says they'll be working with agencies across the state to learn more. 

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