Upstate couple charged with posing as SLED share their side

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Two Upstate security guards are out of work after they were charged with impersonating SLED agents by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. 

Cheyeen Burrell and Lawrence McConnell were served the warrants on on Jan. 24, a few days after a physical altercation and shoplifting incident at the Walmart in Powdersville. 

Burrell and her fiance, McConnell, were grocery shopping at Walmart on Jan. 15 when the trip took a turn. 

“We noticed a couple shoplifting,” Burrell told 7News. 

Burrell says that’s when she discreetly notified store employees and revealed a very important detail. 

“The manager and the [employee] asked how we know these type of things and I presented to tell them that we are SLED Certified Licensed Security Guards,” she said. 

She says the store manager asked the couple to stay close by while they approached the shoplifter. 

“Almost immediately the suspect started getting very violent,” Burrell.

Burrell and McConnell jumped in to subdue the shoplifter, so no one would get hurt while they waited for deputies to arrive. 

According to the incident report, the store manager told deputies they had detained a shoplifter. While trying a to catch the shoplifter Burrell and McConnell presented themselves as SLED agents.  

That’s landed the couple in hot water. 

“Lawrence and I both have been through extensive SLED Certified Training with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. We know better, we would never have done something like that,” said Burrell. 

In a statement to 7News, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office says there was enough probable cause to issue the warrants against the couple, for posing as SLED agents. 

Full statement from Anderson County Sheriff’s Office: 

In reference to the two individuals that have been arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer; the incident was originally reported on January 15, 2019.  An Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to take a report and subsequently presented the information gathered to a County Magistrate on January 16, 2019.  The Magistrate found probable cause to issue arrest warrants for both individuals.

This case has yet to be heard in court and any further discussion regarding the case could hinder the criminal justice process and the accused right to a fair and impartial trial. 

However, the couple argues they were transparent with the responding deputies. 

“We even provided the night of that incident. We provided our SLED security badges,” Burrell told 7News. 

Burrell says she’s fighting the charges, because she acted within reason. She says they will take their case to court to prove their innocence. 

SLED has revoked Burrell and McConnell’s certification. 

The Sheriff’s Office tells 7News Walmart withdrew it’s complaint against the shoplifter. 

Burrell and McConnell were cited by deputies for Assault and Batter third degree on the night of the incident. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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