14th Circuit Solicitor's Office​

Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties​

Chronic burglar convicted after cops called to same business twice in one night

BEAUFORT, S.C. (June 18, 2024) – A career burglar thought he had evaded officers by hiding in the dark recess of the Sheldon carpentry workshop he was robbing, but he was arrested after he was captured on security video for a second time the same night.

Now, 43-year-old Justin Edward Seno is headed to prison.

Justin Edward Seno

The Sheldon resident pleaded guilty Monday in Beaufort County General Sessions Court to two counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of grand larceny and possession of cocaine base or crack cocaine. Because the break-in of Seabrook Designs occurred at night, the offense is considered a violent crime. Seno was sentenced to 15 years suspended to 10 years of active time in prison, followed by three years of probation.

“Mr. Seno has a lengthy record of burglary and thievery,” said Assistant Solicitor Samantha Molina, who prosecuted the case. “He narrowly escaped detection when officers were first called to the business, but with the vigilance of the business owners and law enforcement, Mr. Seno was in custody before sunrise.”

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies were first called to the building on Fire Station Lane at about 10:40 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2020, after the business owner reported a burglary in progress, which he watched remotely by a live security-camera feed. The burglar, who wore a light-colored hoodie, a baseball hat and a face covering, appeared to have exited through a rear door before authorities arrived.

However, a car registered to Seno’s father was found nearby on the side of Huspah Road.

About four hours later, another of the business’ officials, who also had access to the security feed, called law enforcement again. He reported loud pounding on a door and a man similar in description to the first intruder wandering through the building with a leaf blower strapped to his back.

Law enforcement again could not find Seno on the premises but detected damage to a door that had been intact during the first visit.

Then, a S.C. Highway Patrol officer who was keeping watch over the vehicle on Huspah Road saw a man drive away in the car shortly after the second call. He conducted a traffic stop and discovered Seno was the driver. In the back seat, Sheriff’s Office investigators found a Stihl backpack blower and a box of Hitachi tools that had been stolen from the business.

Seno later told investigators that he hid in the building during their first call and that he made the pounding noise heard on the surveillance system later that evening as he tried to get out of the building.

Seno also pleaded guilty to a Sept. 19, 2022, burglary at Tradewinds Landscaping on St. Helena Island where he stole lawn equipment, including a riding lawn mower.

Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman handed down the sentence.

Seno’s criminal history includes six previous convictions for burglary or larceny. He was released from prison just months before the break-in at Seabrook Designs.

Molina is a member of the Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. That team has earned convictions against 492 of the 537 defendants since its formation in 2009.

“Mr. Seno was barely out of prison when he committed this burglary,” 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone said. “We formed our Career Criminal Unit to stop offenders like him, who pose a constant threat to safety, lives and livelihoods in the 14th Circuit.”

Solicitor’s Office Investigator Mike Winston and Victim Advocate Maria Castillo assisted with this case.