Bluffton man gets 15 years for burglary, resisting arrest
BEAUFORT – A 30-year-old Bluffton man was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Monday, March 18, for burglary, cashing stolen checks and resisting arrest.
On Monday afternoon, just before jury selection for his trial was to begin, Preston Morse decided to plead guilty to first-degree burglary, two counts of forgery and two counts of resisting arrest. There was no negotiated plea deal.
On September 17, 2012, Morse broke into a home on Buck Island Road and stole a rifle after his girlfriend allegedly lured the resident to Savannah. On October 12, Morse cashed a check stolen from a Bluffton family at Region’s Bank on Hilton Head Island. He was in the process of trying to cash a check stolen from his former employer at the Bank of America in Bluffton on November 9, when bank employees called police. While being placed under arrest, Morse assaulted two Bluffton police officers, breaking one officer’s finger. He had to be subdued with a Taser.
Investigators received information that Morse was involved in the burglary after he was in custody on the forgery and resisting arrest charges. He confessed to the burglary and stated that he was addicted to prescription pills.
Morse has prior convictions for three counts of criminal domestic violence and one count each of aggravated assault, failure to stop for blue lights, fleeing to evade arrest and petit larceny.
“Although he may blame addiction for his actions, the fact of the matter is that Mr. Morse is a dangerous opportunist, who is quick to become quite violent,” said assistant solicitor Ben Shelton, prosecutor of the case. “Most people with addictions don’t commit crimes. Some addicts commit crimes to support their habits. Mr. Morse is a career criminal who happens to have an addiction. The community and law enforcement are much safer with him in prison.”
The case against his girlfriend is pending.
Judge Carmen Mullen handed down Monday’s sentence. By law, Morse must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for release.