Kidnapped S.C. woman escapes trunk of her car as police search for suspect


A video frame of a man who Horry County, S.C., police say kidnapped a store clerk.
A video frame of a man who Horry County, S.C., police say kidnapped a store clerk.

Police asked the public’s help in finding a masked gunman who kidnapped a woman working at an Horry County, S.C., convenience store early Sunday morning. The woman was later found unharmed in North Carolina.

Horry County Police Department spokeswoman Krystal Dotson said officers responded to the Scotchman convenience store at 1272 Dick Pond Rd. in Surfside Beach around 4:30 a.m.

The man took the 28-year-old clerk by force but took no money or items from the store, and the two left in her car, a silver 2002 Mercury Sable. Authorities located the woman, whose name police did not release, about three hours later.

A police officer had stopped at the store before the kidnapping and the victim told him she was working until 8 a.m., according to a police report. A newspaper delivery person noticed there was no attendant in the store at 4:10 a.m. and called 911.

An officer found the victim's purse, cell phone and jacket under the front counter. Using information from the woman's driver's license, dispatchers found a phone number for a family member. Officers then checked the victim's house for her car. It wasn't there.

The business owner arrived to show officers surveillance footage of the suspect, who was wearing dark jogging-style pants with a green stripe, a black jacket with a red zipper, a black hat and a red bandana covering his face.

In the video, the suspect is seen grabbing the victim by the upper arm after jumping over the counter. He took her keys from her purse and led her out of the store at gunpoint.

An officer noticed a black bike on the walkway near the front entrance and a 24-ounce Budweiser can, which were collected as evidence.

While police were on scene, the victim called a family member to say she had escaped.

She told police the suspect had forced her into the trunk of the car. She said she was able to get out of the trunk when the car stopped at a Sun Do store in Columbus County, N.C., and called police.