New arrest in Horry murder, TC robbery

Douglas Deshawn Thomas


By DEUCE NIVEN

    An additional arrest in the armed robbery of a McDonald’s restaurant in Tabor City in April has a new suspect also awaiting extradition to Horry County to face a murder charge, officials on both sides of the state line said Wednesday.
    Douglas Deshawn Thomas, 21, of Hampton Court Apartments in Whiteville, was in custody about 9 p.m. Tuesday, two hours after warrants were obtained charging him in an April 28 armed robbery at Tabor City’s McDonald’s, said Capt. Russell Conway of the Tabor City Police Department.
    Horry County Police Department detectives have also obtained warrants charging Thomas in the April 29 murder of Aynor businessman Charles Bryant Smith, 69, whose body was found inside his burning mobile home, HCPD Lt. Robert Kegler said. Those warrants charge Thomas with murder and arson.
    Douglas and two other men facing the same charges are held in the Columbus County Detention Center on charged related to the McDonald’s robbery and on fugitive warrants from South Carolina.
    Tommy Lee Benton, 20, of Pleasant Hill Road near Chadbourn; and Mitchell Douglas Cheatham, 20, of White Plains Church Road near Council in Bladen County; are also in the Horry County warrants.
    Douglas, Benton and Cheatham are charged with armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, kidnapping and larceny of a motor vehicle in the McDonald’s case, Conway said.
    Benton’s fiancé, Heather Ashley Faircloth, 25, of North Lewis Street in Tabor City, was charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery. She is a former employee of the McDonald’s, who provided the robbers with information on the layout of the store, Conway said.
    Another man, Douglas Jerome Sinkler, 29, was previously charged in the McDonald’s case, Conway said. Those charges have been dropped, and police now believe it was Douglas Thomas, not Douglas Sinkler, involved in the robbery.
    Thomas and Sinkler live in the same apartment complex, which contributed to the confusion, Conway said.

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