Bluffton robbery suspect convicted
BEAUFORT – A 28-year-old Ridgeland man was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Thursday, August 28, 2014 for the robbery of a Bluffton convenience store.
At the conclusion of a three-day trial, jurors convicted Philenza Pritchett of armed robbery, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime and unlawful carrying of a pistol for the armed robbery of Kangaroo Express, 1610 Fording Island Road.
At about 2:45 a.m. on April 1, 2010, Pritchett and Brandon Rolt donned bandanas over their faces and held a female employee of the store at gunpoint. They stole approximately $200, four cartons of cigarettes and cigars before forcing the woman into a bathroom.
A short time later, a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Deputy saw suspects matching the description at the Kangaroo Express on Gumtree Road. The deputy saw a gun and marijuana on the center console of the car and detained four occupants. A search of the vehicle turned up three guns, bandanas, four cartons of cigarettes, cigars and most of the stolen money.
“The victim was traumatized by this robbery,” said career criminal prosecutor Lynorr Musser, who prosecuted the case. “This was a frightening event that not only put her life at risk, but also would have placed any customers who walked into that store in extreme peril.”
Rolt, who had also robbed the Walgreens in Bluffton that same night, previously pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to 13 years.
Pritchett has prior convictions for assault, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and possessing a weapon during commission of a felony.
Judge Brooks Goldsmith handed down the sentence, which by law, requires Pritchett to serve at least 85 percent before being eligible for early release.