BEAUFORT, SC (Dec. 19, 2022) – A Hilton Head Island man who burglarized more than a dozen area businesses has been convicted and sentenced to prison for 17 years.
Jerome Romeo Wing, 59, of William Drive pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree burglary and grand larceny for burglarizing five restaurants, two nail salons, two thrift stores, a car wash and an automotive repair shop. All the businesses were on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton.
Wing received the maximum penalty of 15 years for the burglary charge, which is considered a violent offense, and two years for the grand larceny charge. The sentences are to be served consecutively.
“Mr. Wing is someone who embraces anti-social tendencies and has a complete disregard for the law,” said Mary Jordan Lempesis of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “Prison is exactly where he needs to be.”
The most recent string of break-ins began in 2020 and ended in June 2022 when a restaurant’s surveillance video showed Wing smashing a glass door of a greater Bluffton pizzeria. Once inside, Wing went straight for the cash register but was unable to open it. In his attempt to enter the eatery, Wing left behind blood on the rock and a jagged piece of glass still lodged in business’s front door.
Wing’s criminal history dates to 1986 and includes convictions and prison time for forgery, and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine (1993) in which he received an eight-year sentence; two counts of second-degree burglary, for which he received eight years (2001); grand larceny, nine counts of forgery, possession of a stolen vehicle and breaking into a motor vehicle, for which he received five years (2001); second-degree burglary, for which he received eight years (2008); and second-degree burglary for which he received 10 years (2014).
Lempesis is the first assistant solicitor for the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. She has been with the office since 2009.