COLLETON, S.C. (WCBD) -Investigators with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office, announce the arrest of several individuals accused of masterminding a multi-county residential burglary ring.
The investigation began in December of 2015, when Colleton Detectives discovered that a series of burglaries all shared several key similarities. On December 20th, 2015, a residence on Possum Corner Road in Colleton County was burglarized. The resident was a single mother of two small children. The burglars stole all of the Christmas presents from underneath the Christmas tree. A witness provided information that helped Investigators develop several possible suspects.
On January 18th, 2016, three residences were burglarized in the Islandton area of Colleton County. In one incident, the Victims’ fifteen year-old daughter was home and hid inside a bathroom while the suspects looted the residence. Once again, witnesses assisted authorities by providing pertinent information. This time, Investigators were able to corroborate statements and uncovered additional evidence. Subsequently, two individuals were arrested and charged with two of the burglaries.
In the late spring of 2016, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office was notified of more residential burglaries. Hampton County Investigators reached out to local authorities for assistance on similar burglaries. The two agencies began working the cases together. By July of this year, Colleton and Hampton Investigators identified some 40 residential burglaries that appeared to be linked (at least 12 in Hampton County and an estimated 20-30 in Colleton County). To add to the seriousness of the crimes at hand, the vast majority of the victims reported multiple firearms stolen. Between the two reporting agencies, investigators estimate more than 200 firearms have been stolen and presumably sold in the streets.
In a cooperative effort, Colleton and Hampton Investigators compiled information from crimes scenes, witness statements, and multiple other sources. Then on July 14th, 2016, Investigators arrested Lindell Williams, 18, and Linzell Williams, 18, twin brothers from Walterboro. A third suspect, Esser Williams, 18, of Yemassee, took two weeks to track down. Esser Williams was apprehend on August 4, 2016, with the assistance of SLED’s Fugitive Team. A fourth suspect, Brooks Drawdy, 34, of Walterboro was arrested on August 8, 2016. The fifth suspect, Otis Lamonte Rhodes Jr., 22, of Walterboro, was taken into custody on today’s date in Atlanta Ga by the U.S Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force. Investigators report that the Williams brothers and Rhodes are all family.
The suspects are charged with multiple counts of Burglary in the 1st Degree stemming from crimes committed during the operation and execution of the multi-county burglary ring. Authorities also report that the investigation is still very much active. Additional arrests and more charges are anticipated as Investigators continue to sort through an abundance of evidence.