Leeza Ferguson, Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center
James Ferguson, Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center
SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A couple from West Virginia was arrested when they apparently tried to shoot a Surfside Beach Walmart employee after being caught shoplifting Thursday afternoon, according to police reports. Authorities found drug paraphernalia and meth-making materials in their car.
At about 2:25 p.m. Thursday, an employee saw 19-year-old Leeza Ferguson put a cell phone charger and swimsuit in her purse while 26-year-old James Ferguson looked on. When the pair went through the checkout line without paying for the items, an employee brought them into an office, according to the Horry County Police report.
Leeza Ferguson removed the stolen items from her purse, the report states, along with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun. An employee unloaded the gun and put it in his pocket. James Ferguson then became loud and threatening towards another employee, while Leeza got a hold of the handgun and pointed it at the first employee. When she realized it was empty, she started to swing it at the employee, who pushed her down.
James Ferguson then took another handgun out of his waistband, and while Leeza tried to remove the safety, the employee twisted it out of her hand before she could fire it, the report states. Both suspects were escorted out of the store. Horry County Police arrived and transported the couple to Surfside Beach Jail without further incident.
One shopper says Horry County
Police Department is at the shopping center almost every time she comes. When she heard that two
guns were drawn, she couldn't imagine how it could get to that point.
"I mean I come here quite
often and I'll see them parked up there or inside the store," said Erica
Julian, who shops at the Surfside Walmart weekly.
"People probably think
because they're not in their area, and they have to go home, that they can get
away with doing crazier things," Richard Burch said.
At the request of the Walmart employee, an Horry County Police officer checked on the Fergusons' car, and saw drug paraphernalia and several assault rifle rounds in plain view. During a complete search, the officer also found needles and chemicals consistent with making meth. The chemicals were removed from the car, and the car was towed off the property.
A worker at a nearby
business says she believes this particular Walmart is targeted because it is
known to be very busy, and people think they can get away with things. As retailers, she understands it can get
tricky when it comes to confronting shoplifters.
"A situation like that,
you really just have to feel it out," said Melanie Nelms, an employee at Once
Upon a Child. "You have to know your limits you have to read personalities and
know where you're going, and where your lines are."
When Nelms heard how the
workers were able to take control of the situation, even with guns present, she
was happy they were able to, but also couldn't help but think of what could
"You lunge at somebody
with a gun and anything can happen," Nelms added. "They could immediately pull
the trigger, or turn to one of the customers and put somebody at risk. That's
something I wouldn't advise."
As of Friday evening, the couple has
been charged with shoplifting and aggravated assault.
Thursday, July 31 2014 9:07 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:07:26 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in locating Virgil Winner, 67, who went missing Tuesday night near 9th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach. AccordingMore >>
Virgil Winner, 67, was located Wednesday night after going missing Tuesday night near 9th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, police officials confirmed. More >>
Thursday, July 31 2014 8:46 AM EDT2014-07-31 12:46:21 GMT
Horry County, SC (WMBF)- People who live in Horry County will be getting their property reassessment letters over the next month.The County valued 250 thousand homes last December. Homeowners can expectMore >>
People who live in Horry County will be getting their property reassessment letters over the next month.The County valued 250,000 properties last December. Homeowners can expect to see changes depending on several factors. More >>
Thursday, July 31 2014 8:17 AM EDT2014-07-31 12:17:31 GMT
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Leaders have set their sights on a potential area for a gun range in Horry County. The track of unused land at the Solid Waste Authority, located off Highway 90 in Conway hasMore >>
Leaders have set their sights on a potential area for a gun range in Horry County. There are costs and more considerations. Alex Holley will be live at 5 a.m. to break down the details.More >>
Thursday, July 31 2014 6:12 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:12:47 GMT
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It seems like they just got out of school for the summer, but parents, it's already time to start back to school shopping for your kids. And this weekend, a number of items they'llMore >>
Sales Tax Holiday in South Carolina is August 1-3.More >>
Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:05 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:05:05 GMT
BENNETTSVILLE, S.C. (WMBF) - Last year the Region VI race in Class 3A came down to the final week of the season - but two-thirds of the teams involved all had a shot at winning the region crown. "It'sMore >>
From futbol this summer to football this fall, the nickname can be applied to one of the toughest regions in SCHSL Class 3A.More >>
Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:27 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:27:40 GMT
SCOTLAND COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A Scotland High quarterback, deemed North Carolina's 11th best player by ESPN, was injured in an ATV accident Tuesday afternoon. Jaylend Ratliffe and a junior linebacker wereMore >>
A Scotland High quarterback, deemed North Carolina's 11th best player by ESPN, was injured in an ATV accident Tuesday afternoon.More >>
Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:26:08 GMT
FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) The United States Postal Service in Florence is nearly finished downsizing its processing center. And soon any mail with a zip code starting in 295 will be processed in Columbia andMore >>
The United States Postal Service in Florence has downsized its processing center. Soon, any mail with a zip code starting in 295 will be processed in Columbia. More >>
Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:46 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:46:37 GMT
FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence County leaders awarded a North Carolina architecture firm to design the new Florence Emergency Management Center. The architecture firm of Stewart Cooper Newell will beMore >>
Florence County leaders awarded a North Carolina architecture firm to design the new Florence Emergency Management Center.More >>
Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:42 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:42:00 GMT
FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Florence Darlington Technical College is hosting two open house registration events. These events will be held on July 31, in the courtyard between the main campus 100 andMore >>
Florence Darlington Technical College is hosting two open house registration events.More >>
Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:41 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:41:57 GMT
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - At least one person is deceased after a vehicle crash happened Tuesday. The accident happened on Highway 9 and Log Cabin Road and was reported at 12:53 p.m. by Highway Patrol. CopyrightMore >>
The town of Loris continued to mourn the loss of 18-year-old Rena Springs on Wednesday. Springs died after being involved in a car crash on Highway 9 the day before. More >>