Chase leads to arrest of theft spree suspect

Thomas Bradley and Crystal Lovette Smith (CCSO photos)

A chase that crossed the state line Saturday ended with the arrest of one theft suspect, and later led to another to jail.

Thomas Tony Bradley, 50, of Main Street, Loris, was jailed here under $29,000 bond. He was charged with a string of thefts. Crystal Lovette Smith, 36 – Bradley’s wife – was charged with misdemeanor larceny here and could face charges in South Carolina.

The sheriff’s office said that deputies were called to the 701 Food and Tobacco store in the 7000 block of U.S. 701 south on Sept. 7. Someone had smashed the front door with a concrete block, then removed $900 worth of tobacco products. Detectives obtained surveillance footage of the theft suspect.

On Sept. 8, reports show that Sheila Cartrette of Clarendon called 911 after someone removed a tire and rim from her vehicle, and replaced it with a smaller model. Again, surveillance footage identified Bradley as the suspect.

Deputies were called to the Dollar General on Mollie Road Sept. 9 to investigate a theft from a vehicle. Courtney Faith Small told deputies that she was sitting in the rear passenger seat of a vehicle, feeding a child, when Bradley entered the front and took her purse.

When Small confronted Bradley, he threw the pocketbook at her and threatened her, before getting into a white Ford SUV, the report said. A witness got the license tag, which a records check showed belonged to Smith.

Surveillance footage showed Smith and Bradley had been inside the store together before the attempted theft in the parking lot. Bradley went outside, and apparently while he was stealing Small’s purse, Smith loaded a shopping cart with deodorant, a mop, baskets, underwear, socks, reading glasses and a wallet. She then left the store with the merchandise without paying. The items were valued at $281. The two fled the scene in different vehicles.

On Sept. 9, Tabor city Police reported that Bradley took seven cases of beer from the Food Lion store without paying. Surveillance cameras and witnesses helped identify Bradley and the vehicle after he fled to South Carolina.

Then on Sept. 10, surveillance cameras caught Bradley and the white SUV during a break-in at the Sidney Service Mart in the 12000 block of U.S. 701 South. Bradley allegedly used a brick to break the glass door and gain entry, where he took $720 in tobacco products. The off-color wheel of the Ford SUV was readily visible in the footage, the report said.

The crime spree came to an end Saturday when Loris Police and Horry County Police began pursuing Bradley. He had previously dodged a roadblock but lost two tires to a set of tire deflation devices, police said. Bradley was taken into custody when the SUV finally stopped in the Green Acres community in Columbus County, where deputies were attempting to intercept him as he fled South Carolina. Smith was later arrested when she contacted police to check on obtaining her vehicle.

So far, Bradley has been charged with misdemeanor resisting an officer; felony breaking, entering and larceny from a motor vehicle; three counts of misdemeanor larceny; and two counts of breaking, entering and larceny. He could still face charges in South Carolina, according to the sheriff’s office.

Smith was charged with misdemeanor larceny and released on an unsecured bond.

The investigation is continuing.

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About Jefferson Weaver 786 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the managing editor of columbuscountynews.com and news director for WTXY radio. He can be reached at 910.632.4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@columbuscountynews.com.