Woman holds suspected car thieves at gunpoint until police arrive

Sara Elisabeth Grooms, Source: Myrtle Beach Police
Sara Elisabeth Grooms, Source: Myrtle Beach Police
Michael Craig Grooms, Source: Myrtle Beach Police
Michael Craig Grooms, Source: Myrtle Beach Police

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) An 87-year-old man, his son and their neighbor helped hold two car-jacking suspects in place until police arrived. It all happened Tuesday in broad daylight at the 1000 block of Poplar Drive off 3rd Avenue South in Myrtle Beach.

Melanie Moore was sitting on her porch reading when she noticed two suspicious people walking down her street. Once she saw them open the car door of her neighbor, Jeff Soles, she knew something was wrong. So she called him.

"I said 'who's these people in your car?' He goes, 'there's nobody in my car, my cars locked.' I went 'no, there's some people in your car'," Moore said.

So Soles went outside to check, and he saw Michael Craig Grooms, 24, and Sara Elisabeth Grooms, 24, inside his white Acura.

"I ran out and there they were, and I jumped on them and dragged them outta the car and said, 'get out of this car, this car don't belong to you'," Soles said.

That's when Moore came over to the house with a gun. She said she thought her neighbors might need her help.

"I knew that Mr. Soles is in his 80s and that Jeff has cancer and I don't know if physically, the two of them could've handled the guy," Moore said.

She said she had the gun in one hand and her phone in the other.

"I told 911 that I had a gun and I was holding it on the people," Moore said.

Moore said she was surprisingly calm while holding the male suspect at gunpoint.

"I really don't want to shoot him, but if he lunges for me, that's what's gonna happen," Moore said.

Elton Soles said he punched the male suspect when he saw him going after his son, Jeff. He says Melanie is the reason Jeff still has his car. He said the two suspects were trying at one point to physically push the car out of the driveway.

"I'm very happy. I'm proud of her for doing that. If it wasn't for her they probably would've pushed the car off," Soles said.

Moore said she wouldn't do anything differently if the situation happened all over again, but she hopes it doesn't.

"That's the first time I've ever had to pull [the gun] on anyone and I hope it's the last," Moore said.

Both suspects are being held on a $25,000 bond and are expected to appear in court August 3.

Moore said police told her she did the right thing.

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