‘Gone to trash’: Armed robbery adds to list of crimes near Rock Hill park

Police are urgently searching for a suspect in a robbery at a Rock Hill park, and the crime is the latest in a long list of incidents in the past six months.

According to the Rock Hill Police Department, the victim was playing basketball Saturday night at Highland Park on North Jones Avenue.

Channel 9′s Evan Donovan spoke to neighbors at four houses near the park, and they say they’re not surprised.

“We got so much crime going on, it’s ridiculous. I’ve had people get shot right here,” said Robert Mothershed, who lives in a house across from the park.

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“When we bought this house in the ‘70s, this was a great neighborhood -- church on the corner, church behind us, kids in the park. But in the last 20 years, this place has gone to trash,” he said.

Mothershed says his cameras didn’t capture any of the robbery on Saturday, but police say a suspect went up to the victim, pulled a gun from his pocket, and demanded the victim’s phone and sweatshirt.

Police found the sweatshirt, but not the suspect.

Several other neighbors told Donovan that they’ve seen a lot of crime recently.

“Me and my boyfriend play a game of ‘not a firework or definitely a firework’ because there are so many gunshots that go off on a regular basis,” said Tiffany Whidden.

Whidden said she knows it’s not a safe area, but there’s a reason they live there.

“The rent is low, and ultimately, everything in the area at this moment is expensive with Rock Hill blowing up, and rent across the nation -- $600 a month, you can’t be at that,” Whidden said.

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We checked the area’s crime map and found nearly 50 incidents in the past six months within a quarter-mile of the park. They ranged from drugs to break-ins to assaults and robberies.

“I’m thinking about moving,” Mothershed told Donovan. “I carry a pistol in my yard because there’s stupid people in this world.”

Rock Hill police only had a vague description of the suspect. We asked them a number of questions about the incident, including whether the park’s cameras caught any images of the suspect. Police said they’re not releasing any further information at this time.

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