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KCSO, EPD investigating string of auto break-ins

Posted: January 20, 2011 4:22 p.m.
Updated: January 21, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) and Elgin Police Department (EPD) are investigating separate but possibly connected sets of automobile break-ins. The break-ins were perpetrated between late Monday night and early Wednesday morning.

KCSO Capt. Ed Corey confirmed that seven thefts from motor vehicles were reported in three Lugoff subdivisions off U.S. 1. EPD Chief Harold Brown provided reports of another seven similar incidents on Jeffers Circle off White Pond Road. He said he did not know if the KCSO cases were linked to the ones in Elgin.

The KCSO cases include two each on Laurel Crossing Drive, Westwood Lane and Pine Mark Lane and one on Mauser Drive, all in the same part of Lugoff.

The first auto break-in was reported by a woman living on Laurel Crossing Drive in the Laurel Crossing subdivision. She said when she went out to her car Tuesday morning she discovered the driver’s side window was broken out. She said her purse and iPod were missing.

A few minutes later, deputies were sent to a house on nearby Westwood Lane in the Pine Mark subdivision where a male victim said he heard his dogs barking around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. When he went out later to get into his truck, the victim found the driver’s side window broken out and his .45 caliber pistol missing.

Around 7 a.m. Tuesday, a deputy was called back to Laurel Crossing Drive where a young woman said she went to get into her car to go to work and found the driver’s side window shattered. She said she went inside and got a male relative to come out and look at her car. He soon realized the rear driver’s side window on his SUV was shattered as well. The woman said her wallet was missing from her vehicle. Nothing appeared to have been taken from the man’s SUV.

The deputy was then directed back to Westwood Lane where a man said he realized someone broke into his vehicle. The thieves took a touch screen CD/DVD player, iPod Nano and iPod Touch.

An hour later, another deputy was sent to Pine Mark Lane where a man said someone broke out the window to his truck and stole a laptop computer stored under a jacket on his front seat. The computer was in a carrying case that had other items inside it.

A short time later, another man on Pine Mark Drive said someone broke out a passenger window to his truck and stole a laptop computer from the back seat floorboard. Several guns inside the truck, however, were left untouched.

Finally, around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, a man living on Mauser Drive in the Hunter’s Crossing subdivision a couple of miles away, said he discovered someone broke out the rear driver’s side window of his vehicle and stolen a touch screen CD/DVD player, two headrest video screens, speakers and amps.

Corey and KCSO Chief Deputy Marvin Brown noted the thieves were stealing things that were easily accessible and useful to them.

“They were taking electronics and computers,” said Marvin Brown. “They got what they wanted to get.”

“The thing is, people weren’t helping themselves,” added Corey, suggesting that people not leave purses, electronics or anything else of value in their vehicles, and to lock their vehicles.

The Jefferson Circle break-ins all took place either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. Jeffers Circle is located off Highway Church Road about 1 mile from U.S. 1 in Elgin.

A little after 6 a.m. Wednesday, an EPD officer was dispatched to Jeffers Circle to speak to a woman who said someone broke out the driver’s side window of her car and stole her purse from the floorboard.

While the officer was speaking to that woman, a man reported someone broke out the passenger side window of his wife’s pickup truck and rifled through the truck. Nothing appeared to have been stolen, however.

On the third report, the officer noted that he had been told by another officer during that morning’s shift change that a suspicious person call had been received earlier in the morning. The complainant reported that a suspect was seen on a bicycle. Around that time, the officer began receiving the break-in complaints.

The officer later found the bicycle and determined it had been stolen from yet another Jeffers Circle house. At that home, a man reported the driver’s side window of his truck broken out and a loaded handgun stolen. The bicycle was returned to the victim.

While investigating that scene, the officer noticed broken glass from the passenger side window of a truck next door. A laptop computer was stolen from the truck.

A woman then reported someone entered her SUV in an unsuccessful attempt to remove the stereo.

Later that evening, another woman from Jeffers Circle reported that she noticed someone rummaged around in her Jeep that morning, but thought it was her husband looking for something. She said it wasn’t until she returned from work that she realized her GPS device was missing. The vehicle appeared to have been unlocked at the time.

The KCSO is also looking into an earlier string of motor vehicle break-ins. Although they also took place at homes or in subdivisions off U.S. 1, Corey said he was not sure if they were connected to the current round of break-ins in Lugoff or Elgin.

On Jan. 4, five people reported their vehicles were broken into and items stolen.

A man living on St. Andrews Way, in the Aberdeen subdivision near Elgin, said he found the front passenger side window broken out on his truck. A large black bag similar to a laptop computer bag was taken. The victim said, however, that it only contained his Bible and study materials.

Around the same time, a man living on Aberdeen Way said someone broke out the window to his vehicle and stole his wallet kept under a hat on his seat.

A short time later, a deputy was sent to nearby Hickory Point Lane near the intersection of U.S. 1 and Rabon Circle. There, a man said someone ransacked his truck and SUV. He said someone took two briefcases out of the truck. He found the briefcases in his neighbor’s yard but nothing was missing from either one.

A deputy was sent to Falling Leaf Lane, off Watts Hill Road between U.S. 1 and Eskie Dixon Road. A man there said someone broke out the back passenger side window of his car and stole an iPod Nano.

On nearby Choctaw Circle, a man said his car’s back passenger side window was broken out and the front passenger window cracked. When he looked inside, he found a CD case was missing along with the face to his in-dash DVD player. The CDs were found in a neighboring yard.

Around 7 a.m. Jan. 5, a deputy was called to Fir Tree Lane in the Windmill Ridge subdivision off U.S. 1 near the Kershaw/Richland county line. A man living there said someone broke out the passenger side window of his truck and stole a 9mm pistol and an iPod.

A short time later, the deputy was sent to Fraiser Fir Lane in the same subdivision where a woman said someone went into her unlocked vehicle and stole her wallet from her pocket book. Her husband said someone went into his unlocked vehicle and stole his .357 revolver.

The final report from early January was filed the afternoon of Jan. 6. A deputy was sent to Castle Court in the Aberdeen subdivision where a man said someone went into his SUV and stole his wallet. The victim thought it was possible he had left his vehicle unlocked and that the theft could have taken place between the afternoon of Jan. 4 and when he discovered the wallet missing.

Anyone with information about any of these break-ins is asked to call KCSO investigators at 425-1512 or the EPD at 438-2362.

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