West Columbia man arrested after trying to steal HDTV

George M. Murphy
George M. Murphy

WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The West Columbia Police Department arrested a West Columbia man at the Wal-Mart on Augusta Rd. after he tried to steal a high-definition television, and assaulted an employee, authorities say.

According to West Columbia Police Chief Dennis Tyndall, 33-year-old George M. Murphy of West Columbia attempted to steal a 26" HDTV by grabbing it and running out of a fire door at the rear of the store at around midnight Tuesday night.

"A gentleman went into the store and he was asking a lot of questions," says Major Jackie Brothers.

Officers say Murphy asked an employee questions about the TV, then, he ran with the television toward an emergency exit.

Murphy put the television in the rear of his pickup truck that he parked outside the exit door. Tyndall says an employee attempted to stop Murphy and was assaulted as he fled the store.

Tyndall also says a witness was outside moving wooden pallets with a forklift, and after seeing Murphy's vehicle, the witness blocked the vehicle in with his forklift.

"He saw the car parked there and thought that was kind of odd. When the suspect ran out the door, put the TV on the truck, he was unable to move his vehicle," says Brothers.

At that point, Brothers says Murphy fled on foot.

Tyndall stated that West Columbia officers with the assistance of the Springdale Police Department and Lexington County Sheriff's Department set up a perimeter.

Murphy was located and arrested near Huntington Drive.

"If more people were willing to get involved then we would have a whole lot more of these people off the streets," says Brothers.

He is currently being held at the Lexington County Detention Center pending a bond hearing, charged with one count of strong-arm robbery.

Reported by Brandi Cummings

Updated by Bryce Mursch