Carjacking Suspect Linked to Burglaries

Adam Stafford

RIDGEWAY – A routine stop to fill up the gas tank at a business just outside the Ridgeway town limits turned ugly last week when a Ridgeway woman was carjacked at gunpoint and kidnapped.

According to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, the victim, a 23-year-old woman from Park Road, was in her car at the AM/PM on Highway 34 at approximately 8:30 a.m. June 12 when she was approached by a white male, later identified as Adam Eugene Stafford, 26, of Cook Road, Ridgeway. Stafford reportedly asked the victim if he could use her cell phone. When the victim told him she did not have a cell phone, Stafford allegedly produced a handgun, pointed it at the victim and forced his way into the car.

Stafford drove the car down a nearby dirt road and pulled over to tie the victim’s hands and take $60 from her wallet. After binding the victim, Stafford drove to a vacant house next door to Bryan’s Tire on Highway 34, approximately 100 yards from the AM/PM. When Stafford exited the car, the victim was able to untie her hands and get out of the car, just as Stafford was making his way back to the car from the house. Stafford then tried to grab the victim, the Sheriff’s Office said, and a struggle ensued. After fighting with her kidnapper for a few moments, the victim managed to extricate herself and run to Bryan’s Tire where the owner, Bryan Murphy, called for help. The victim was taken by ambulance to Fairfield Memorial Hospital where she was treated for minor injuries and released. Stafford, meanwhile, was on the run and Sheriff’s deputies set up a perimeter around Ridgeway.

Within minutes, the victim’s car, a Chevrolet Malibu, was found less than a mile away behind a vacant business on Highway 34. Investigators located Stafford a short time later, around 10 a.m., hiding underneath a vacant mobile home just off Highway 34. The handgun was recovered and found to be a pellet gun, the Sheriff’s Office said. Stafford was transported to the Fairfield County Detention Center.

In addition to charges of kidnapping, carjacking and armed robbery, Stafford has been charged with two counts of first-degree burglary and one count of forgery in unrelated cases dating back to May 31.

Stafford has been charged with the May 31 theft of copper worth $100 from the air conditioning unit of a home at 71712 Highway 34 in Ridgeway, as well as the June 10 break-in of a home at 254 Salutation Lane, also in Ridgeway, where a television worth $250 was stolen. The television was located 24 hours later at a pawn shop in Columbia. Stafford was also charged with forging an $800 check on May 31 at Boone’s Barn Liquor store in Winnsboro.

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