Man charged in Hartsville car dealership burglary where shots were fired at deputies also suspect in Florence car theft

Man charged in Hartsville car dealership burglary where shots were fired at deputies also suspect in Florence car theft

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A $50,000 bond was set Wednesday morning for a man charged in connection with an alarm call at a Hartsville car dealership that ended with deputies being fired upon.

Robert Eugene Hendricks has been charged with breaking into a motor vehicle, malicious injury to real property and burglary. The bonds set for each charge were $5,000, $15,000 and $30,000, respectively.

The judge also ordered Hendricks not to return to the dealership or have any contact with the victims. His next court date is Sept. 11.

It was never stated during the hearing that Hendricks is accused of firing shots, only that he’s suspected of breaking into the dealership.

According to investigators with the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office, additional charges against Hendricks are expected Wednesday. The defendant also has a hold on him out of Florence County, as well as a probation parole hold out of Spartanburg.

Late Monday night, deputies were called to the Dodge dealership on East Bobo Newsom Highway in Hartsville for an alarm call.

Deputies, as well as Hartsville police officers, came across several people who opened fire at them, according to investigators. No injuries were reported.

Hendricks was taken into custody, while the other suspects are believed to have left the area.

Investigators also charged Hendricks with malicious injury in connection to an incident that occurred at Harps Auto Sales on South Main Street in Darlington. WMBF has reached out to the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office to see when this incident occurred.

Florence County Sheriff’s investigators also confirmed that Hendricks is the suspect in a car theft that happened over the weekend.

According to a FCSO press release, the suspect broke into the service area of the Car Town Kia dealership located at 3704 E. Palmetto St., on Saturday and stole a Kia Sole as well as a number of keys.

Tony Giordano, the general manager, said Hendricks was able to pry open the fence to get in.

“He contained himself mostly to the service area, looking for the keys, looking for dealer tags, which he got,” he said.

Authorities said Hendricks then returned at 3:30 p.m. Surveillance cameras outside of the building show Hendricks being dropped off by a black Mustang. He was able to also steal a 2019 Kia Sorento with the keys he stole that morning.

"I've seen a lot of break-ins over the years, but never when somebody was brave enough to come back in the middle of the day with sale people and other people watching them," Giordano said.

The general manager said he’s glad Hendricks' alleged burglary spree has come to an end.

"It’s refreshing to know he’s off the streets because by watching the videos he just didn’t care. He was going to steal whatever he wanted and he didn’t matter who caught him or anybody would of got into a confrontation... there’s no telling what he would of done,” he said.

A FCSO deputy who was in the area shortly after the theft happened spotted the vehicle and tried to pull the thief over. However, the suspect led the deputy on a chase into Darlington County, the release stated. It was ultimately called off.

Hendricks was charged with second-degree burglary and grand larceny by the FCSO.

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