Armed robbery suspects face lengthy list of charges

Bernard Foster (Souce: MBPD)
Bernard Foster (Souce: MBPD)
Geri Hamilton (Source: MBPD)
Geri Hamilton (Source: MBPD)

Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Two people detained in connection to a rash of armed robberies in the Myrtle Beach area are facing more than 15 charges in connection to the crimes.

Myrtle Beach Police arrested Geri Hamilton and Bernard Foster on Tuesday afternoon, charging each of the suspects with six counts of armed robbery and nine counts of kidnapping.

A judge set bond at $240,000 for Hamilton during a Thursday morning bond hearing - $10,000 for each armed robbery charge and $20,000 for each kidnapping charge. Bond was not awarded to Foster, who is said to have a lengthy criminal history dating back to the 1990s.

Foster's crime-filled past, according to a judge, includes charges for breaking and entering, grand larceny, strong armed robbery, escape, lewd act on a minor and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

Hamilton pleaded to the judge in court Thursday that she is the mother of three children in Greenville, while Foster claimed Hamilton had nothing to do with the crimes.

Capt. David Knipes, spokesman for the Myrtle Beach Police Department, said the man and woman could be connected to a recent rash of armed robberies across the Myrtle Beach area. Investigators report a slender, black male has been targeting hotels and payday loan businesses since July.

Throughout the duration of the crime spree, police reports show the unidentified robber has held employees at gunpoint on five different occasions, beginning at a Check N Go store on July 27.

Officers were dispatched to the business, located at 612 S. Kings Hwy., around 5:45 p.m. on July 27 in reference to a hold-up alarm call. Upon arrival, police met with a woman who said she was robbed at gunpoint by an unidentified male.

Nearly four days later, a similar incident was reported to police at Check Into Cash, located at 1519 N. Kings Hwy. An employee told police a black male walked into the business and attempted to make a payment for a man named "Gregg Johnson."

The suspect proceeded to pull a gun on the employee and demand money.

Three hotels have also been targeted in the crime spree from Aug. 4-9, according to Myrtle Beach Police. In all three instances, a black male approached a hotel employee asking for a room. Moments later, the employees reported they were also robbed of money at gunpoint.

The robberies were reported most recently at the Boardwalk Beach Resort, Holiday Shores and Sun Fun Motel.

Myrtle Beach investigators said the similarities between the armed robberies have prompted officers to hand out posters to area businesses, in an effort to alert the public and area businesses.