Wayne Harrison (copy)

Wayne Harrison

An ongoing investigation into stolen property led deputies to issue a search warrant Thursday and charge the owner of Harrison Hardware in Warrenville.

A complainant reported to the Aiken County Sheriff's Office that his Craftsman toolbox had been stolen and he believed the suspect, Wayne Elliot Harris, may have purchased the stolen item to sell in his store, a sheriff's office incident report states.

The responding deputy reported being familiar with the fact that several citizens in Aiken County have made accusations against the suspect for buying stolen items from different people, the report states. 

Around 12:18 p.m. on Wednesday, deputies met with the suspect at his store on Augusta Road and asked permission to inspect the property for the reportedly stolen toolbox. 

The suspect agreed and escorted the deputies to the rear of the facility where a large amount of copper, aluminum and other metals were kept, the report states. 

Deputies observed several large air conditioning condensers in the rear of the facility that the suspect said he didn't buy from anyone, according to the report. 

The suspect told deputies random people drop off used A/C units at his facility and he recycles the metal in them.

Deputies made note in the incident report that an unknown suspect had recently stripped the copper and condensers from two A/C units at Bobby's Bar-B-Q that matched the size of the condensers found at Harrison Hardware. 

Deputies investigating air conditioning unit theft at Bobby's Bar-B-Q

However, deputies were unable to determine if the items had been stolen from the restaurant due to lack of serial numbers on the condensers, the report states. 

Deputies also observed several boxes and containers of copper and aluminum that the suspect said he purchases and then recycles, according to the report. 

Deputies then discovered a locked door that was separated from the public's access and appeared to be a large separate building attached to the main building. 

"He initially stated he would have to get a key and acted as if it would take some time to find the key," the report reads. 

After deputies said they were willing to wait for the key, the suspect obtained the key from his car and unlocked the door. 

Inside, deputies found new Stihl equipment and new push mowers as well as a 20 gauge shotgun, the report states. 

After running the serial numbers on the shot gun and a chainsaw, the suspect became nervous and shut the door to the room, according to the report. 

The suspect made several excuses for not letting the deputies re-enter the building and told deputies he wanted to obtain legal advice from his lawyer. 

After leaving the store, deputes researched metal permit laws and found the suspect was in violation.   

Harrison, 48, of Warrenville was charged with possession of firearm or ammunition by a person convicted of a violent felony, unlawful purchase of nonferrous metals for purpose of recycling and second offense precious metals violations by dealers according to jail records.

Harrison was taken to the Aiken County detention center where he was being held as of Friday afternoon. 

Matthew Enfinger is the crime and courts reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @matt_enfinger