2008-05-02 / Front Page

Burglary suspect drawing widespread interest

By TIM GULLA Ledger Staff Writer tim@gaffneyledger.com

CARSON CARSON A 30-year-old prisoner at the Cherokee County Detention Center is attracting a lot of attention from investigators across the region.

Caught on April 28 after allegedly breaking into the 96 Outpost store near Interstate 85, Marcus Dewayne Carson, of Hugh Street, Spartanburg, subsequently was linked by Cherokee County investigators to four other recent burglaries, they said.

Cherokee County authorities aren't alone in their interest in Carson, however, as police review a string of burglaries throughout the Upstate and in southern North Carolina.

"We have him charged with five (burglaries) in our county and he may be charged in eight or nine other jurisdiction," Sheriff Bill Blanton said.

The Union County Sheriff's Office, for instance, plans to charge Carson with three burglaries in its jurisdiction, confirmed Chief Deputy Roger Gregory. He didn't know if the warrants had been served yet.

Pacolet police also have plans to charge Carson with a burglary that occurred this past Sunday at a Mexican restaurant.

The Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, meanwhile, plans to charge Carson with burglaries of the Lighthouse Fish Camp and the Skate Palace on South Pine Street, according to Major Dan Johnson.

Johnson said detectives from his office interviewed Carson on Wednesday and drove him around to look at several locations.

According to Blanton, investigators from the City of Spartanburg, as well as Clover police in York County, and Kings Mountain Police in North Carolina are interested in Carson as well.

Calls placed to authorities in Clover and King's Mountain were not immediately returned Thursday.

Another person was with Carson at the time of his arrest Monday but got away, Blanton said.

All of the burglaries for which Carson is charged in Cherokee County occurred between April 4 and April 28, among them Fatz Cafe, Moss Mini Mart, J Express, the Silver Dollar, the Arsenal and the 96 Outpost.

Previous incident reports in which no specific suspect was listed include:

- Two burglaries occurred within the same time span on April 4. Someone forced entry into Fatz Cafe on Peachoid Road sometime between 2 a.m. and 4:15 a.m. At the time it was undetermined if anything was missing. Around 2:50 a.m., someone forced entry into Moss's Mini Mart on Union Highway, stealing about $220 in change.

- Police were dispatched to the J Express on East Cherokee Street on April 7 at around 2:50 a.m. on a report of an activated alarm. Upon their arrival they found a broken front door. About $210 was missing from the store, which sustained about $2,000 in damage.

- On April 14, police began an investigation into the break-in of the Silver Dollar on Wilcox Avenue, which had been entered sometime between 4:31 a.m. and 1 p.m. Missing was $2,200 in cash, and $490 in beer and liquor. An additional $2,000 in damage was caused to a pool table, a game machine and $500 in door damage was reported.

- Some time between April 19 and April 21, someone forced their way into The Arsenal, a restaurant on Shelby Highway. The thief or thieves stole $2,000 from a safe, $2,000 from a game machine and $300 in soft drinks. The restaurant sustained about $310 in damage.

Online prison records for the Cherokee County Detention Center listed only a single charge of burglary against Carson as of Thursday afternoon. His bond was set at $7,500.

Blanton declined to say how investigators were able to link Carson to the five burglaries in Cherokee County.

"Through the investigation (the detectives) gathered enough evidence to charge him with ours," he said.

According to Gregory, burglaries in Union County in which Carson might be a suspect include the break-ins of Gene's Fine Foods, the Highway 9 Food Mart and the Snow White Laundry. Among the stolen items were a charity contribution jar from Gene's Fine Foods and several hundred dollars from a safe at the Highway 9 convenience store. At the laundry, Gregory said, "They did more damage tearing open the coin machines (than what was taken)."

In Pacolet, about $200 was taken from the Taxco Restaurante Mexicano on South Pine Street in a burglary, according to an officer there.

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