Bond denied for 19-year-old suspect in Conway gas station robber - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

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Bond denied for 19-year-old suspect in Conway gas station robbery, shooting

Michael Stenger. Source: HCPD Michael Stenger. Source: HCPD
Supporters band together to pray for the victim. Supporters band together to pray for the victim.
Family members have begun sharing the 'Pray for Jeff' photo asking for prayers and thoughts as the victim recovers. Family members have begun sharing the 'Pray for Jeff' photo asking for prayers and thoughts as the victim recovers.

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Bond has been denied for a 19-year-old Murrells Inlet man arrested in connection with a robbery and shooting at a gas station.

Michael Stenger went before a judge in Horry County Thursday afternoon. Stenger was not granted bond.

The incident happened at the Carolina Petro gas station off Highway 544 early Wednesday morning in which the store clerk was shot.

The victim's family member talked to WMBF News and says he is still being treated as a patient in critical condition, but is considered stable. According to his family, the victim was shot at least twice- once in the face, and a second time in the lower abdomen.

The family said he will need multiple surgeries, along with a feeding tube and have his jaw wired shut. On Wednesday, he was able to open his eyes, but nothing more.

According to the family, he is mostly sedated because of the incredible pain he is in. The family limits their time in the room so he can continue to rest and heal, but there is always a member of the family present at the hospital.

His family explains the 41-year-old worked at the store for only a few weeks and described him as a kind man with a fighting spirit.

Stenger was arrested at about 1 p.m. Wednesday in connection with the case and taken to Horry County Detention Center, according to Lt. Raul Denis with HCPD.

Horry County Police confirmed a store clerk was shot during a robbery at Carolina Petro gas station off Highway 544 in Conway early Wednesday morning. The call first came in at about 2:30 a.m., and Lieutenant Chip Squires said at around 3 a.m. Wednesday, officers responded to a hold-up panic alarm from the location.

Police say when they arrived, they found the clerk was shot, and a customer had been robbed at gunpoint. Police say the customer was not injured. The customer told police that he pulled into the parking lot of the store as the crime was ending. The customer said the suspect approached his vehicle, waved a firearm at him, and took his wallet and cell phone. According to police, the clerk was taken to the hospital, and there are no updates on their condition as of Wednesday morning.

Stenger was apprehended by officers and detectives with HCPD, and members of the Fugitive Task Force. He was charged with two counts of armed robbery and one count of attempted murder in connection with this incident, officials confirmed.

If anyone has information on this incident contact police at (843)248-1520 or leave information on the Tip Line at (843)915-8477.

This is not the first time this particular convenience store has dealt with armed robbers.

According to police reports with Horry County Police, someone was shot inside the Scotchman store after three men came in back in August 2014 and there was also an armed robbery in October 2007.

Other convenience stores in the area said they're taking precautions to make sure staff stay safe. Food Shop employees are allowed to carry guns.

"If the robber is going to carry a gun, why can't you carry one?" said Jimmy Sanders, one of the store owners.

The Food Shop doesn't stay open overnight and nobody is ever allowed to be working in the store alone. The store also has security cameras inside and outside. The video is visible on a large screen television near the door.

"When you're open 24 hours a day, you don't know what's going to pull up," Sanders said. "And if you're here all by yourself, you can't defend yourself. You have to be prepared."

GPM Southeast, the company that runs the Scotchman store, is not releasing a statement right now in response to the armed robbery.

Customers said they'd like to see more security at the store for the sake of the employees.

"Some kind of barricade where they can't enter the store. They can basically just walk up to the window and buy gas or cigarettes or whatever they need right there," said Bryan Tyler Henson, who visits the Scotchman convenience store frequently. "It's just a bad place to be open 24 hours. Draw the wrong crowd in."

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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