FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Three teens are behind bars in the Florence County Detention Center after investigators say are responsible for a string of armed robberies in both the city of Florence and Florence County.
18 year-old, Charles Cooke is one of the suspects who is charged with armed robbery and is now being held on 60 thousand dollars bond. He spoke in front of a judge today in Florence County. Cooke says, "It's not me, I wouldn't have hurt any of them."
Danielle Pridgen, 19 year-old is held on 50 thousand dollars bond and charged with one count of armed robbery. "I'm up here and I don't do that kind of stuff, at all," says Pridgen. The third suspect is James Carter, 18 year-old who's bond is set at 50 thousand dollars, too.
Deputies say the first crime of the night happened in the Cloisters neighborhood off Friar's Gate Court. As the victim arrived at home, the suspects approached him with a gun and demanded money. The victim handed over the cash and then the suspects fled.
The last crime of the night was off Twin Bridge Road when one victim says it happened to him when he got home around 11:00 p.m. Jabari Alexander says one of the suspects ran up to his car door pointing a gun at him demanding money. Alexander's two sons were in the car with him, and the way he reacted is what he says saved their lives.
"I felt like it was best to go down swinging so I instinctively just kicked the door open hoping I could get him lodged in-between the door to save my kids life at least someone would hear the commotion and turn on the lights and run outside or something, says Alexander.
When he got out of his car, the suspect ran away and jumped into a car parked next to his house. "My youngest son was 7 years-old. He was in the back seat screaming and crying the whole time. My oldest son, 15, was yelling just go, just go, he was wanting to get out of here because it was a close brush of death, or at least staring down the barrel of a gun," Alexander said.
It was a chance he took to try to get the suspects out of his neighborhood. He says, "Thanks be to God, everything turned out fine."
The crimes happened over a three hour time span. Judge Edwards says because of the nature of the crimes all three are a threat to the community.