Richland County Sheriff’s Department officials said bond was denied twice for the suspect who has been called the “hockey mask bandit” after allegedly robbing 18 different stores around the Midlands over a span of 32 days.
Sgt. Kevin Lawrence, a department spokesman, said Cedrick Gaines, 36, who was an active soldier at Fort Jackson during the robberies, was denied bond in his first hearing Tuesday for multiple armed robberies as well as for for multiple counts of kidnapping.
Gaines is believed to be connected to 19 armed robberies in Columbia, Forest Acres, Sumter and Richland and Lexington counties. He is charged with nine counts of armed robbery, attempted armed robbery and unlawful carry of a weapon, according to a sheriff’s department release.
Sheriff Leon Lott said in the release that Gaines will face additional charges of kidnapping from Richland County.
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Lott said deputies spotted the suspect just before 8:30 p.m. Monday as he was coming off Two Notch Road, where a GameStop store had just been robbed, onto Interstate 77.
Sheriff’s deputies were searching for the suspect along I-77, which they believed was a “common denominator” in the robberies.
Sgt. Danny Brown recognized the color of the Chevrolet Suburban and description of the rims as the vehicle driven in the armed robberies. In the vehicle, deputies could see a hockey mask, hooded sweatshirt, Glock handgun and two bags of money with GameStop on them, the Sheriff’s Department said.
The suspect was pulled over and questioned without incident.
Earlier, a cash reward of $6,000 had been offered for information leading to the arrest of the “hockey mask bandit” – $5,000 from Richland County and $1,000 from Crimestoppers.
Gaines also faces charges for crimes in Columbia, Lexington County, Sumter and Forest Acres, according to the release.
Lexington County issued warrants for Gaines’ arrest for the attempted armed robbery of a St. Andrews Road Dollar General store on Dec. 17. The Dollar General clerk locked himself in a back room and the armed robber was not able to break into the cash register, Lexington County Sheriff Lewis McCarty said in a news release Tuesday evening.
Anne-Kathryn Flanagan & Cassie Cope contributed to this report.