Crime & Courts

Man robs two stores while driving stolen sports car

Deputies with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department have arrested a man they say robbed two stores and tried to rob a third over a period of about 10 hours on Saturday – all while driving a stolen convertible sports car.

Niki Lee King, 39, who does not have a permanent address, was arrested Saturday on two counts of armed robbery and one count of attempted armed robbery, Lexington County Sheriff Lewis McCarty said in a statement released Monday.

Around 6:20 a.m. on Saturday, King walked into the Pops convenience store at 538 St. Andrews Road near Irmo and showed the store’s clerk a handgun stuck in the waistband of his pants, arrest warrants allege. He then stole $113 in cash and drove away in a black Mazda Miata convertible.

King then robbed a Kangaroo Express convenience store at 3950 Augusta Road, near West Columbia, shortly before 4 p.m. that afternoon, McCarty said. Again King showed what the store’s clerk believed was a handgun, then stole $62 in cash and drove away in the Miata.

A few minutes later, King tried to rob a Big Lots at 3230 Augusta Road, McCarty said. King entered the store and threatened to physically injure a clerk if the clerk did not give him cash from the store’s register. The clerk refused to give King any money, arrest warrants allege. King again drove away in the Miata.

King was found and arrested around 11 a.m. Sunday at a mobile home park on Dudley Road near West Columbia after a deputy who was conducting a directed patrol spotted the Miata. The car matched the description of a Miata stolen from a service area at a Walmart on Augusta Road in West Columbia, McCarty said. Arrest warrants allege that King stole the car from the Walmart on Friday.

The deputy called for assistance and King was arrested without incident a short time later. He was wearing the same clothes he was wearing when he allegedly robbed the Kangaroo Express and the Big Lots Saturday, McCarty said.

King was being held Monday at the Lexington County Detention Center on a bail totaling $210,000.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department is working with the Columbia Police Department and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to determine whether King committed additional robberies in Columbia and Richland County, McCarty said.

Anyone with information about criminal activity involving King is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.