Folly robberies are first in 60 years involving gunfire

Folly Beach authorities have released this sketch of the suspect in Sunday's armed robberies.

FOLLY BEACH -- An armed robbery in which the victim was wounded by gunfire is the first of its kind in at least 60 years in this island city, Public Safety Director Dennis Brown said Monday night.

The early Sunday shooting that hospitalized a 21-year-old Mount Pleasant man occurred in the first of two holdups that morning on the streets of Folly Beach. No shots were fired in the second holdup, Brown said.

The shooting victim was taken by EMS to a hospital and was "resting comfortably" Monday, Brown said. The robbery victims' names are not being released right now because they could be in danger while the robber is still at large, Brown said.

He said a State Law Enforcement Division artist came to the island on Monday and interviewed the second robbery victim. A sketch made of the suspect, who was described as white, in his 20s, between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-11 and wearing a dark-colored hoodie, is being distributed.

The first robbery happened about 2:30 a.m. Sunday to a beach visitor walking near a beach-access point near the old Coast Guard station, off East Ashley Avenue. The victim told police that a man carrying a large-caliber handgun robbed him of cash and a cellphone, and that while he struggled with the robber, he was shot in the chest, Brown said.

The suspect fled the scene, and the victim knocked on the door of a nearby residence to get help, Brown said.

Folly Beach called in the Charleston County Sheriff's Office to conduct a search using tracking dogs. The suspect wasn't found.

He said police received a call around 6:45 a.m. about a second armed robbery, this time on West Indian Avenue. The victim, a Folly resident, was robbed of cash but was not injured.

Both victims gave investigators the same basic description of the robber, police said.

Brown, who became the city's police chief this past winter, said he did some checking and learned that holdups in which shots are fired are "unique and rare at Folly Beach." He said there are a couple of robberies each year at Folly, but none in many decades have involved gunfire.

"We haven't seen that in 60 plus years," he said.