The suspected “hockey mask bandit” Richland County sheriff’s deputies arrested Monday is an active duty Army soldier stationed at Fort Jackson, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies arrested Cedrick Gaines, 36, who is believed to be connected to 19 armed robberies in Columbia, Forest Acres, Sumter and Richland and Lexington counties.
Gaines is charged with nine counts of armed robbery, attempted armed robbery and unlawful carry of a weapon, according to the release.
Sheriff Leon Lott said in the release that Gaines will face additional charges of kidnapping from Richland County.
Gaines 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 December 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.
Lott said Monday night that deputies spotted the suspect just before 8:30 p.m. 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. The suspect was pulled over and questioned without incident.
In plain sight 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.
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.
Anne-Kathryn Flanagan & Cassie Cope contributed to this report.