SILVERSTREET — Two burglary suspects were taken into custody Tuesday morning thanks to the efforts of a concerned citizen and law enforcement.
Just after 4 a.m. Tuesday, a citizen was passing by Smitty’s Country Store in Silverstreet when he observed two males breaking into the business. As the suspects fled the store, the citizen followed while calling and remaining on the phone with the 911 center — keeping them updated on their location.
When law enforcement caught up to them, the deputy attempted to stop the vehicle using blue lights and sirens, but the van the suspects were driving attempted to flee from the officers. The pursuit of the van led into the City of Newberry — where at one point the suspect’s vehicle attempted to strike the vehicles of the law enforcement officers that responded to assist.
The vehicle lost control while attempting to get onto I-26 at the S.C. 219 interchange and came to a stop in a grassy area. One of the suspects was immediately taken into custody; however, the second suspect fled into an area covered with dense underbrush. The second suspect was taken into custody within a matter minutes.
Sheriff Lee Foster said it is believed that the two suspects are operating as part of a criminal organization that specializes in burglaries of convenience stores across the state. This portion of the investigation is preliminary at this point, and investigators will be working with agencies across the state for this part of the investigation.
The suspects were identified as Ryan Lamar Jones, 31, of 1510 Jerome Drive, Columbia; and Willie Lee Hannah II, 26, of 512 Spanish Leaf Lane, West Columbia.
According to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Department, both suspects will be charged with burglary, larceny, conspiracy, and possession of burglary tools. Hannah will also be charged with failure to stop for a law enforcement vehicle. Jones has a previous history of burglary convictions and is currently on probation for burglary — according to officials.
Foster said the Newberry Police Department and South Carolina Highway Patrol assisted during the incident. The pursuit lasted approximately five miles through the City of Newberry onto S.C. 219 — reaching speeds of about ninety miles per hour.