West Pelzer police make arrest within minutes of robbery

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By Stan Welch

A quick response and help from a citizen resulted in a swift conclusion to a strong arm robbery that took place last Tuesday in West Pelzer.

West Pelzer Police Chief Mike Clardy had just finished up his shift when he was informed by Central Dispatch that the SavWay convenience store on Main Street had been robbed.

Chief Clardy responded immediately and interviewed store clerk Kayla Billingsley, who said she had gone into the back of the store without locking the doors, and was told by friends that a white male had come in and robbed the register. Clardy was viewing the store’s surveillance videotapes when an unnamed citizen reported that the citizen had just seen the subject walking towards Highway 20 on Main Street.

The Chief and the citizen approached Justin Mitchell Welborn, WM, 26, 5’9″, 150 pounds, brn/brn, in the patrol car. Clardy then exited the car and addressed Welborn personally.

He asked him if he had any weapons and Welborn said he had a knife. Clardy conducted a pat down search for officer safety and felt what he thought might be a knife. He also felt an object he judged to be a roll of currency, based on his experience as a drug interdiction officer.

Welborn consented to a search and a box cutter and a roll of currency in a SavWay wrapper was found. Additional currency was found under the cap Welborn was wearing. Welborn was given the Miranda warning concerning his rights, and then conceded that he took the money from the store, according to Clardy’s report. He was transported to the Williamston Police Department by Williamston officers for holding, while Clardy continued to investigate.

Clardy met withWelborn at the Williamston jail and again gave him his Miranda warning. Welborn then gave a detailed written account of his actions, admitting the crime. He was charged with strong arm robbery and taken to the Anderson County Detention Center.

Chief Clardy credited the cooperation of the citizen with helping to solve the case so quickly. “The subject was just released from prison for a similar crime. He still had his prison ID card on him.”