Suspect in $100K firearm robbery at Palmetto State Armory re-arrested after standoff (2024)

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  • By Tyler Fedortfedor@postandcourier.com

    Tyler Fedor

    Tyler Fedor covers crime, public safety and breaking news forThe Post and Courier in Florence. He's a graduate of the Universityof South Carolina and a diehard Gameco*ck fan who loves totravel.

Suspect in $100K firearm robbery at Palmetto State Armory re-arrested after standoff (3)

FLORENCE— A suspect in the robbery of more than 150 guns from the Palmetto State Armory in Florence was arrested again June 18 following a three-hour standoff with police at a Florence apartment complex.

Florence County Sheriff’s Office investigators set up a sting operation June 18 since they believed the suspect, Benjamin Lee Mercer Jr., planned to sell some of the stolen guns in Darlington County.

Authorities further allege Mercer robbed a confidential informant before a vehicle chase ensued in which he fled from Darlington to Florence.

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Palmetto State Armory robbery suspect arrested after three-hour standoff

  • By Tyler Fedortfedor@postandcourier.com

Mercer barricaded himself in an apartment building on Revell Drive and Pineland Avenue for three hours surrounded by officers from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, Florence city police and ​​the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Mercer surrendered after a chemical irritantwas pumped into the apartment.

Mercer was arrested May 22 and charged with one count of burglary, grand larceny, criminal conspiracy and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

He will face more charges because of the standoff, a June 19 Florence County Sheriff's Office press release states. He was released on bail May 28.

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Palmetto State Armory is a South Carolina-based retail gun store with locations across the state.

Mercer and Benjamin Lee Mercer Sr., 51, allegedly broke into the Palmetto State Armory at night and took the guns that were valued at more than $100,000 on May 12.

Pee Dee

Man arrested in connection with Palmetto State Armory theft of over 150 guns

  • By Tyler Fedortfedor@postandcourier.com

An arrest warrant has been issued for Mercer Sr., who is from Darlington and is still at large. He is described as being about 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds.

Florence County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Major Mike Nunn said he did not have an updated count on how many of the stolen guns had been recovered.

Anyone with information about the defendants and their whereabouts should contact investigators at 843-665-2121, ext. 80168, or “Submit-A-Tip” on the free FCSO app for Apple or Android devices. You do not have to reveal your identity to leave information.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers of the Pee Dee at 1-888-CRIME-SC to leave an anonymous tip.

Reach Tyler Fedor at 843-998-3484. Follow him on X @tylerrfedor. Send tips to tfedor@postandcourier.com.

More information

  • Palmetto State Armory part of lawsuit after ammunition 'suddenly and violently exploded'
  • Second suspect arrested in May burglary at Palmetto State Armory in Florence

Tyler Fedor

Tyler Fedor covers crime, public safety and breaking news forThe Post and Courier in Florence. He's a graduate of the Universityof South Carolina and a diehard Gameco*ck fan who loves totravel.

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