Stephon Lovell Kerns, a 32 year old resident of Spartanburg, South Carolina, was arrested today for Armed Robbery and Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.
On 12/21/2020, the HomeTrust Bank, located at 351 Butler Road in Forest City, was robbed by a subject with a gun. Detectives with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office immediately began an investigation and soon learned that there had been a series of robberies in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, that were factually similar.
A joint investigation began between Rutherford County and Spartanburg County detectives, as well as cooperative efforts with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As the investigations continued, it was believed that approximately 17 robberies comprised of financial institutions and businesses in South Carolina were connected to the one in Forest City on 12/21/2020.
On 1/5/2021, an employee of the HomeTrust Bank, in Forest City, observed a suspicious person outside the building. The employee recognized that the suspicious person was wearing clothing that was similar to the suspect that had robbed the bank on 12/21/2020. Forest City Police Department and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to 351 Butler Road in attempt to locate the suspicious person. Forest City initiated a car chase when the subject fled the scene. After wrecking the vehicle he was driving, the chase then transitioned to a foot pursuit. The subject ran into the woods and officers lost sight of him. Officers then set up a perimeter in attempt to isolate and locate the subject. Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Captain J. Padgett and Sergeant B. King located Stephon Lovell Kerns in the woods. Once he was identified, he was arrested for the Armed Robbery of the HomeTrust that occurred on 12/21/2020.
Kerns has a criminal history that includes a previous conviction of Robbery and he is also a convicted Felon, by which he is not permitted by law to be in the possession of a firearm.
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Forest City Police Department for their efforts today in the safe and successful apprehension of Kerns. Additionally, the partnership with Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office is greatly appreciated as their exhaustive efforts aided in compiling evidence connecting Kerns to the robbery in Rutherford County.
This investigation is on-going and as more information is learned it will be provided.