Man charged in robbery string


North Charleston police on Wednesday arrested a Summerville man and named him a suspect in a string of seven robberies that have plagued the region since late last week.

Police said they arrested Mark Edward Seifts Jr., 24, of Summerville after a three-hour standoff Wednesday morning at the Motel 6 on Ashley Phosphate Road.

Seifts is charged with armed robbery in the holdup Tuesday at Candlewood Suites on Northwoods Boulevard and another Monday at the Wendy's on Ashley Phosphate Road, said Spencer Pryor, police public information officer. Police said Seifts also is considered a suspect in other robberies in which the thief wore a hooded sweatshirt. In several of the cases, the words

"South Pole" were on the shirt.

Police also arrested the suspected driver of the getaway car in the Wendy's robbery.

Fallon D. Stafford, 24, of Johns Island, is charged with armed robbery, Pryor said. He said a witness saw a man fitting the description of the robber get into a 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse with black rims and a loud muffler. A female was in the driver's seat.

Pryor said police on Wednesday received a tip that the robber might be at the Motel 6.

Seifts refused to come out when investigators tried to talk to him. Surrounding rooms were evacuated as North Charleston SWAT negotiators talked to him for three hours before he exited the room. He was taken to Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital for a medical evaluation.

Charleston police arrested Stafford on Wednesday night outside a West Ashley grocery store, Pryor said. He said it was not clear how the suspects knew each other.

Pryor said multiple Lowcountry agencies are working together to determine if Seifts is connected to five other robberies in West Ashley, Summerville and North Charleston.

By Wednesday night, Seifts was out of the hospital and in jail. Charleston County Magistrate Alvin Bligen set his bond for the Candlewood Suites robbery at $500,000. Seifts told the judge that he was not working but is receiving worker's compensation because he fell off a roof three years ago and fractured his head.

Seifts and Stafford later will face a magistrate in Dorchester County for charges related to the Wendy's robbery. The Wendy's is located in the North Charleston portion of lower Dorchester County.