Both suspects caught after Bluffton burglary, manhunt

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Both suspects caught after Bluffton burglary, manhunt

Published Friday, November 30, 2012   |  474 Words  |  

A Bluffton man who surprised two teenage burglars carting items from his home Wednesday afternoon rescued one from a nearby pond as the pair tried to escape, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Later that night, both suspects -- Brandon Warren, 18, and Javon Winston, 19, of Bluffton -- had been charged with burglary after an hourslong manhunt for Winston.

Warren was arrested soon after the homeowner rescued him from a pond and then held him at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

More charges from previous burglaries and thefts are expected, according to the Sheriff's Office.

A resident discovered the two men carrying items out of his home on Fernlakes Drive and stockpiling them in the backyard at about 2:15 p.m. Once seen, Warren and Winston jumped into a pond to swim away.

Warren began to flail, and the homeowner jumped in to rescue him, the Sheriff's Office said. But Winston swam away.

Winston slipped through a perimeter and evaded scores of armed deputies and a K9 tracking team for hours. He was believed to be armed and dangerous because he had allegedly stolen several guns from the home.

He was found just before 8 p.m. leaving his Lawton Street home and was quickly arrested, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

Investigators recovered all but one of the stolen handguns, triggering another search Thursday. The Sheriff's Office Dive Team looked for the weapon in the pond but didn't find it, Capt. Toby McSwain said.

Warren and Winston also are suspects in an Oct. 29 burglary in Bluffton's Meadowbrook neighborhood, in which a handgun was stolen. That handgun was recovered Nov. 10 when Winston reported someone had shot him, but an investigation showed he had accidentally shot himself instead, Bluffton police Lt. Joe Babkiewicz said.

The victim of that burglary identified the handgun as his, but charges cannot be filed until a trace, which is under way, confirms it's the same weapon, Babkiewicz said.

Bluffton police have filed warrants against the two men for the attempted burglary of a home in Hidden Lakes and are determining if more charges will be filed.

Warren and Winston face two counts each of burglary and grand larceny, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center. They are being held for prosecution, with bail set at $200,000 each.

Attempts Thursday to reach the Fernlakes homeowner were unsuccessful.

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