2 charged in drag queen robberies
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Charleston Police Department has charged two North Charleston men with the robbing of three businesses within a period of four days.
Melvin Laurence Gathers, 25, of 4335 Andrews Street, North Charleston, is charged with two counts of armed robbery, one count of strong armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Gathers is being held in the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center.
Joe Louis Brown, 23, of 5056 Rockingham Street, North Charleston, is charged with armed robbery, strong armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Brown also is charged with two counts of unlawful carrying of a handgun. Officials say he had two handguns in his possession when he was taken into custody at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Meeting Street and Harris Street.
Investigators say the two men were involved in two robberies that occurred Friday on Savannah Highway and another that happened Monday on Folly Road.
Gathers was taken into custody by investigators without incident about 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Econo Lodge at 2237 Savannah Highway. He is charged in reference to the Holiday Inn Express, AMF Charleston Lanes and Arby's robberies.
Brown is charged in reference to the Holiday Inn Express and AMF Charleston Lanes robberies.
The first robbery occurred about 11:30 p.m. Friday at the Holiday Inn Express at 1943 Savannah Highway. Two men dressed as women entered the business and asked the clerk how much it cost to rent a room.
One of the men then pulled out a handgun and demanded money from the clerk, who ran into the office. The suspects then left the hotel without getting any money.
The second robbery occurred minutes later at the AMF Charleston Lanes at 1963 Savannah Highway when a man dressed as a woman entered the business and demanded money from an employee. The employee started to comply with his demand when the suspect reportedly turned away and walked out of the business.
The third robbery occurred about 9 p.m. Monday when two armed men entered the Folly Road Arby's and robbed it. The men then fled on foot west bound on Sawgrass Road.
Officials with the Charleston Police Department say the investigation is ongoing.