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Neighbors in South Carolina rally to support 96-year-old after home burglarized

Baby Ray Culbreath (Cottageville Police Department)

It’s a terrifying crime that made folks in the Cottageville not scared, but angry.

A home invasion in November involving a 96-year-old victim takes a turn towards justice, after the suspect was arrested in Walterboro this afternoon.

A plaque outside town hall celebrates Joe Ackerman’s worth to his community.

“If there anyone or such a thing, Joe is a pillar in this town,” said Cottageville Mayor Timothy Grimsley. “This was kind of a shock to me. I personally think thieves are cowards.”

Mayor Grimsley , a distant relative of the victim, expressed frustration towards suspect Baby Ray Culbreath. Culbreath’s accused swiping a $100 in cash during a break-in at Ackerman’s home.

"This kind of hit me personally, and it hit a lot of people in town personally.”

Cottageville Police say Culbreath has a history of panhandling for money in Walterboro, but did not predict he would be suspected in a home invasion.

“Nothing up 'til now that would even suggest that he would do a home invasion," said Major Chris Lovelace with Cottageville Police. "So, it’s progressively getting worse, his behavior.”

A joint effort between Colleton County Sheriff’s Office and Cottageville officers lead to Culbreath’s arrest on Monday.

Meanwhile, a joint community effort is underway to keep the victim safe. A new security system and a stronger door frame are now in place.

"Everybody’s looking out for Joe., just as he’s looked out for everybody for years, and years, and years.”

Ackerman was not harmed, and a bond hearing is upcoming for Culbreath.

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