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Camden Crime Report - March 22, 2019
CPD investigating Chesnut Street fire as arson
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The Camden Police Department (CPD) and Camden Fire Department (CFD) are investigating a March 12 car fire involving a 2002 Jaguar XJ8 as arson. The incident also appears to have involved an attempt to set fire to the residence where the car was parked.

According to a CPD incident report, dispatchers sent police and firefighters to an area around the 600 and 700 blocks of Chesnut Street where they found the car burning behind a residence on the 700 block. Officers noted that the fire seemed to be concentrated on the front passenger side corner and back end of the Jaguar, and that there were small fires near the base of the nearby residence. Firefighters arrived on the scene and quickly put out the fire.

A woman living in a nearby apartment said she saw an orange glow outside her window, saw the car burning and called 911. The Jaguar’s owner and another at the residence said they heard a noise outside, smelled gasoline and then saw the car on fire. One of the men reported hearing a very loud car leaving the area shortly before seeing the flames.

The reporting officer noted several different places on the home’s exterior with black marks around the base of the house. The back door of the residence had black marks on the lower left corner as if it had been burned, and the steps beneath the door were blackened. The screen on the back door was curled as if distorted by heat.

Firefighters used an electronic device that can detect traces of combustible accelerants and determined that accelerants were used on several places on the vehicle and poured along the base of the house. The accelerant had been ignited, leaving a distinct black line that traveled around two corners of the house.

Near the back of the house, officers found a gas can that was flat and appeared to have been distorted by the heat. Officers located it between the vehicle and residence.

The CPD also reported the following recent incidents:

A 68-year-old woman living on Amelia Street off Knights Hill Road said she was unloading packages from her vehicle around 8 p.m. March 20 when a man pulled into the driveway next to hers in a tan car. She said while she was inside with one of the packages, she heard a vehicle speed off. When she got back to her car, her purse was gone, containing her wallet, various IDs and bank cards, some cash and loose change, and prescription medications. Earlier, around 8 a.m., a Lugoff woman was dropping off her child at a Lyttleton Street day care and, while she was inside the building, someone stole her purse, with credit/debit cards, a cell phone, hospital pharmaceutical access card, and house and car keys. Surveillance footage showed someone parked a black car nearby prior to the victim’s arrival, but never exited the car. The footage showed the car moved into the parking space next to the victim’s after another vehicle left, but it did not appear to show anyone getting into the victim’s car. The victim’s husband tracked his wife’s phone, leading officers to a home at the corner of Woodward Park and Chestnut Ferry Road, but they were unable to locate any of her belongings.

Officers arrested a 24-year-old Cassatt man on charges of unlawful carrying of a pistol and discharging a firearm within the city limits after dispatchers received at least five calls about gunshots being fired in the area of Chesnut Street and Kennedy Drive. One of the responding officers located the suspect and his girlfriend on Chesnut Street near Broad Street and could see that he had a black 9mm handgun with an extended magazine sticking out of his waistband. Another officer arrived on the scene shortly afterward, removed the gun from the man’s waistband and placed him in handcuffs. The man’s girlfriend told officers that they were walking home from a Chesnut Street apartment complex when her boyfriend got mad about something that had happened there and began to fire his gun in the air. Officers recovered three spent shell casings approximately 10 yards from where they arrested the man. They then transported the man -- who has no previous criminal history -- to the detention center where he was later served with the warrants.

Officers arrested a 61-year-old Heath Springs man in the KershawHealth emergency department after he was originally brought there by EMS staff for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) for a mental evaluation based on suicidal threats. According to a CPD report, the man -- who managed to get out of soft restraints for evaluation -- entered another emergency room in the department thinking it was an exit and was confronted by several staff members and others. At this point, the man allegedly took out his pocket knife, opened it and told everyone to leave him alone. Despite putting the knife away and returning to his room, staff and other victims all wanted him to be criminally charged, especially since the LCSO declined to come to the hospital to watch the man. At that point, the CPD arrested him for second-degree assault and took him to jail.

An unknown man will likely be charged with shoplifting and resisting arrest if Camden officers catch up to him. Around 1:15 p.m. March 10, officers responded to Walmart for a shoplifter who reportedly got into a black vehicle. Officers found the vehicle parked at the nearby Arby’s and, based on a description of the shoplifter, had a passenger exit the vehicle. As soon as the man did so, he took off running toward the GameStop in Springdale Plaza, and -- with an officer in pursuit -- ran around the back of the building and into a wooded area. The pursuing officer was not able to locate him and the other subjects in the car would not provide his identity. However, they had all paid for their purchases and were not arrested. Managers said the suspect was attempting to steal a Bluetooth speaker, but dropped it before exiting the store.

A 31-year-old man reported that his 43-year-old girlfriend assaulted him by hitting on the top of his head with a belt. An officer wrote in a report that the man suffered two bumps with blood coming out of them and dried blood running down the man’s neck as well as a small wound on his lower left arm. The woman had not been arrested at the time the report was filed.

Officers arrested a 29-year-Camden man for second-degree domestic violence after he allegedly assaulted his 24-year-old girlfriend with whom he lives. He reportedly put his hands around her neck, causing her not to breathe for a short time. He also allegedly took her phone to keep her from calling for help and her keys to keep her from leaving.

An unidentified man grabbed $20 from the counter at Huddle House that a customer had left to pay for their meal. According to an employee, the man walked in, took the money and ran away. She said she chased the man, who ran toward the Mona Lisa motel.

Someone stole various power tools and other equipment from where construction workers are renovating the portion of the old Kmart where Marshall’s will be located at River Oaks Shopping Center sometime between 7 p.m. March 10 and 7:45 a.m. March 11.

On the evening of March 11, a clerk at Gags Liquor on Wylie Street turned over a bag a customer gave him from off the floor to police that contained a small quantity of crack cocaine.

Someone managed to get into a locked pick-up truck on Greene Street and stole some sunglasses and a flashlight early in the morning on March 15.

Someone stole a 9mm handgun belonging to a Camden woman from inside of a car parked at the Wendy’s on Wet DeKalb Street on March 4.

Camden officers also dealt with other incidents involving communicating threats, counterfeit money, financial transaction fraud, harassment, malicious injury to property, marijuana possession, minor in possession of tobacco, motor vehicle theft, third-degree assault, third-degree domestic violence, theft from a motor vehicle, trespassing, and vandalism.

(CPD reports are provided under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act. Subjects are considered innocent until proven guilty.)