COTTAGEVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) — 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.