Aiken manhunt ends in man's capture

A three-hour manhunt in Aiken County on Monday night led to the arrest of a South Carolina man in the attempted armed robbery of a Whiskey Road liquor store and a nearby home.

Ray Charles Smalls Jr., 35, was charged with strong-arm robbery and jailed in the Aiken County Detention Center in connection with the holdup of the A+ Package Store and a home on Valley Drive.

Capt. Eric Abdullah, of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, said Smalls entered the liquor store about 6:27 p.m. and gave the “impression he had a weapon.”

Abdullah said Smalls demanded money and ran away, prompting a manhunt.

About 9:30 p.m., police were led to a Valley Drive home, after receiving a 911 call from a burglary victim who said a man that matched the suspect’s description at the liquor store robbery was at her home.

Smalls was arrested by the perimeter units on Dry Branch Road at 9:46 p.m., Abdullah said. Assisting law enforcement agencies were New Ellenton Police Department, South Carolina Highway Patrol, Aiken Department of Public Safety and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

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