Camden Police Department (CPD) officers responded to Camden High School (CHS) twice during the holidays
Police first responded around 4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve after an administrator heard voices and glass breaking inside the school. They told responding officers that had come to the school with their daughter in order to retrieve chairs for an event. They said they saw the glass and heard footsteps when their daughter tried to use the restroom. The officers went toward CHS’ southwest staircase where they smelled the odor of wood burning. Moving up the stairs, they cleared the 600 hallway floor and did not find anyone. However, they did find that a glass panel to one of the room’s doors had been broken from in the hallway. Inside, officers found a large piece of rebar believed to have been used to break the window. It also appeared that someone was living in another of the 600 hall rooms. Inside, officers found a black leather ottoman with a bag of pillow filling top of it that administrators said did not belong in the room. They found a half-eaten cup of microwave noodles in front of the ottoman. They also found a microwave with more noodles inside with the timer stopped at 27 seconds. Officers collected a fingerprint from the microwave.
Around 7 p.m. Christmas Day, an officer checking the school found an unsecured door on the northwest corner of the two-story building. The officer called for backup and the officers entered the building, but did not find anyone. However, they reentered the same 600 hall room where the ottoman had been found and saw more signs that someone had been living there. This time, there was black laptop laying on the ottoman and plugged into an outlet. Officers also found a black cell phone and multiple candy bars. There were also several 9-ounce cups of water. Also, it appeared someone had tried to clean the microwave after it had been dusted that afternoon for prints. Officers then check the other rooms and found another laptop in another room that had not been there earlier in the day.
The CPD also reported the following recent incidents:
Officers arrested 17-year-old Albert Dawson Rats, of Mathis Court, Camden, on drug charges after spotting the young man getting into a car with a license plate that belonged to a different vehicle around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 26, 2018. During a subsequent traffic stop, Ratz provided his driver’s license, but said he did not have proof of insurance; he also claimed the proper license plate was in his bookbag in the trunk. While speaking with Ratz, officers detected the odor of marijuana even though Ratz claimed there was none. After searching him and finding that Ratz did not have anything illegal on his person, officers searched his car. During the search, officers found the bookbag, which contained a box of sandwich bags in the front pocket. In the bag’s main compartment, officers found a zip bag of lighters along with a locked metal box. After Ratz refused to open the box -- from which officers reported smelling a strong odor of marijuana -- officers arrested him. A short time later, before being transported to the county jail, Ratz decided to provide the key to open the box. Officers reported finding a digital scale, a wallet, a plastic bag containing marijuana, an unopened cigarillo package, a lighter and a clear plastic bag with keys inside. Officers later weighed the marijuana as being 22.9 grams, leading them to charge Ratz with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. They also cited him for possession of drug paraphernalia, improper tag and no proof of insurance, as well as issued him a warning for being a minor in possession of tobacco. Officers did not charge another 17-year-old in the car.
A man arrested twice in July 2018, including once for allegedly firing a rifle at several people, is facing more charges. Charles James Harrison, 28, of Lower Branch Lane, Elgin, was arrested in July 2018 and has been held at the Kershaw County Detention Center (KCDC) on more than $30,000 bond since late September after making bail earlier in the year. According to a Dec. 26, 2018, CPD report, Harrison damaged a video phone in D Pod by punching it. After KCDC officer moved Harrison to the jail’s segregation unit, Harrison allegedly attacked another detainee. He then became belligerent with KCDC officers and would not follow commands. Officers then tried to get Harrison enter the shower area so he could change uniforms, but reported he would then not come out. When one of the officers reentered the shower area to retrieve him, Harrison allegedly struck him in the right side of the face with a closed fist. He is now charged with third-degree assault and malicious injury to property.
Officers arrested a 22-year-old Camden man on Christmas Day for stealing a present from underneath the carport of a Cantey Parkway home. A man living there said his outside security camera recorded the thief; when reviewed, that footage showed a young man wearing a black leather jacket, tan pants and “very distinctive purple, high top-type shoes,” according to the reporting officer. Sometime later that day, the victim’s sister said they had located a person matching that description at a residence on the 600 block of Chesnut Street. Officers went to that residence, located the possible suspect and detained him for questioning. When told that video had been recorded of the incident, the young man reportedly admitted he took the gift. Officers recovered the present and gave it back to the victim so they could give it to its intended recipient.
Officers arrested a 43-year-old Cassatt man with failure to stop for police and driving under suspension around 11:30p.m. Dec. 30, 2018. According to a CPD report, an officer spotted the man drive a white PT Cruiser through the stop sign at Fair and York streets. The man turned the vehicle into the McDonald’s parking lot, but did not stop, heading on to Mill Street, back to York Street and on to King Street. As the man approached Broad Street, he threw something out of the car window and finally pulled into a driveway near the Robert Mills Courthouse. The responding officer ordered the man out at gunpoint and to the ground. It turned out that the man had been driving under suspension and that he had, apparently, thrown a liquor bottle of the car. At this point, officers arrested the man and took him to jail.
Construction workers at the new hotel site on Wall Street near U.S. 521 reported on Dec. 21, 2018, that someone had entered the work trailer and stole some items, consisting of various tools and computer equipment -- including a DVR system for security cameras -- valued at more than $2,200. It appeared someone had forced the lock off the trailer door. The acting manager at the site also showed the reporting officer where some of the items had been stolen from a room inside the unfinished hotel. There, the officer saw that the room had been locked with a padlock that had been forcibly removed and laying on the floor.
A man living on the 600 block of Laurens Street reported that someone broke into his home during the early morning hours of Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2018, and removed a safe from a bedroom closet. Including the safe’s contents, the burglar got away with a .45 caliber gun, cash and jewelry all valued at approximately $3,500. Officers reported finding a side window broken, leaving small pieces of glass on the ground and window sill. Officers collected this evidence along with a fingerprint.
Someone broke into a storage unit on Sumter Highway (U.S. 521) sometime between Nov. 1 and Dec. 21, 2018. According to a CPD report, the thieves removed nearly $6,700 worth of clothing (mostly shoes), household goods and a 12-gauge shotgun all belonging to a Camden man. It appeared the lock to the unit had been cut, possibly with a rotary cutting tool.
Following a fight at the Deluxe Inn on East DeKalb Street around 11:30 a.m. Dec. 29, 2018, officers charged several people with various infractions. Officers charged both a 31-year-old woman and a 25-year-old woman with third-degree assault, and a 27-year-old man with possession of ecstasy, possession of crack cocaine and unlawful carrying of a pistol.
Three young men, ages 17-19, were reportedly caught on video around 12:30 a.m. New Year’s Day breaking into a Lyttleton Street pawnshop’s storage area and left riding on bicycles stolen from inside. Officers actually encountered the young men during a field interview, but did not yet know that the bikes had been stolen.
Officers and firefighters responded to a fully involved outbuilding on a residential property on Alexander Street near Firetower Road around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday that may be suspicious in origin.
Camden officers also dealt with recent incidents involving breach of trust, burglary, counterfeiting/forgery, debit card fraud, DUI (including one involving .18 blood alcohol content), driving under suspension, failure to return rental property, harassment, larceny, liquor law violations, malicious injury to property, marijuana possession, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, public disorderly conduct, shoplifting, third-degree assault, trespassing, and vandalism.