ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said the arrest of an individual on multiple burglary charges has ended a burglary ring that is believed to have preyed on areas across the state.
“This was a burglary ring of five who committed burglaries not only but in multiple states,” the sheriff said. “One defendant estimated the group made between 200 and 300 burglaries in South Carolina alone.”
John Paul Thompson, 47, in Orangeburg County alone is facing five counts of criminal conspiracy, five counts of malicious injury to real property, four counts of grand larceny, three counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree burglary and one count of petit larceny.
During a hearing on Tuesday, Thompson formally presented his rights and informed he can apply for bond in front of a circuit court judge at a later date.
Eric Youngblood, 36, was charged in the case on Friday with five counts of criminal conspiracy, six counts of malicious injury to real property, four counts of grand larceny, three counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree burglary and one count of petit larceny.
Youngblood wasn’t given a bond either.
Three others involved in at least 16 South Carolina county burglaries are being held by Lowcountry counties for similar crimes in their jurisdictions.
Only one of those three, 24-year-old Brandon Roberts, is believed to have taken part in five burglaries that took place in the eastern part of Orangeburg County between May and June of this year.
Roberts has not yet been brought back to Orangeburg County to face his charges here.
They were dubbed the “pillowcase bandits” due to their using pillowcases taken from victims’ homes to carry stolen items.
Ravenell said the five are believed to have been active from Virginia to Florida.
The sheriff said the crime ring began to unravel in March when Berkeley County investigators noticed a series of similar burglaries there. The investigation quickly spread to surrounding counties, including Orangeburg County.
Some of the items stolen in this jurisdiction have been recovered and owners identified.
The cases were investigated by the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office Burglary Task Force.