Armed Robbery Suspect Caught Napping at Hotel

James Carter Hewitt

WINNSBORO – A Winnsboro man was arrested at a hotel in Florence last week, less than two days after police say he robbed a North Congress Street liquor store at gunpoint.

James Carter “J.C.” Hewitt was arrested by Florence police just after 1 a.m. on Oct. 19 in the lobby of a hotel in Florence. Hewitt, who at press time was being held at the Fairfield County Detention Center, is charged with the Oct. 17 armed robbery of Jackie’s package store at 405 North Congress St. in Winnsboro.

Freddie Lorick, Chief of Winnsboro Public Safety, said Hewitt, 36, of 220 Holly St., walked into Jackie’s at approximately 6:20 p.m. on Oct. 17 wearing a ski mask and brandishing a handgun. Hewitt reportedly approached the clerk on duty, pointed the gun at her and demanded money. The clerk, Lorick said, recognized Hewitt’s voice and could not believe, for a moment at least, that he was serious.

“She said, ‘J.C., I know you. You’re joking’,” Lorick said.

Hewitt was, however, quite serious. He took between $400 and $1,000 from the register, left the store and got into a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee, in which he sped away. Hewitt operates a garage on Columbia Road, and the Jeep, Lorick said, belonged to a customer who had left it with Hewitt for repairs.

Hewitt drove the Jeep to a home on Hilltop Road where he asked a friend living there for a ride to Myrtle Beach. When the friend refused, Hewitt took the keys to his friend’s 2000 Honda CVR and hit the highway. He made it as far as Florence, where he stopped at a hotel.

At the hotel, Hewitt got as far as the lobby before a heart condition prompted his loss of consciousness, Lorick said. When Hewitt passed out, the gun used in the robbery fell out of his pants and the hotel clerk called the Florence police. Hewitt was returned to Winnsboro the following morning, Lorick said.

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