Deputies investigating rash of Sumter vehicle break-ins

FROM STAFF REPORTS
Posted 6/5/18

Sumter County Sheriff's Office is investigating several vehicle break-ins that have taken place in and near the Twin Lakes area according to a news release from the department. And recent rainy …

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Deputies investigating rash of Sumter vehicle break-ins

Posted

Sumter County Sheriff's Office is investigating several vehicle break-ins that have taken place in and near the Twin Lakes area according to a news release from the department. And recent rainy weather doesn't seem to deter the thief/thieves.

The county break-ins included:

- On May 25, a resident in the 2900 block of September Drive reported that an unidentified male entered an unlocked 2013 BMW 328I and stole a 9mm semi-automatic weapon from the glove box. The incident was captured by the home's video surveillance cameras.

- On May 26, a resident in the 860 block of Twin Lakes Drive reported someone entered an unlocked 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer and stole a purse with all of its contents. There was no damage to the vehicle.

- On May 27, a resident in the 1060 block of Kentwood Drive reported that someone entered his or her unlocked 2015 Chevrolet Equinox and plundered through the center console and glovebox. It did not appear that anything had been stolen.

- Also on May 27, a resident of the 1070 block of Kentwood Drive reported that someone broke into his or her locked 2015 Hyundai Sonata and went through the center console and glove box. Approximately $2 in change was stolen. A 2015 Buick Enclave and a 2006 Nissan Murano were also broken into, and the subject(s) entered the center consoles and glove boxes although nothing was reported missing.

"People should never leave their vehicles unlocked, even at home," said Sumter County Sheriff's Deputy Ken Bell, the agency's public information officer. "And no valuables should ever be left inside of a vehicle."

Bell said if valuables need to be left in a vehicle overnight, they should be locked in the trunk where they cannot be seen.

"Don't make it easy for thieves," Bell said in the release. "They look for easy targets. They want to get in and out as fast as possible. Always lock your vehicle at night, and park in a lighted area, if possible."

Bell also warned that thieves might target other areas of the county.

"Just because these incidents happened in the Twin Lakes area is no guarantee that future incidents will also happen there," he said. "They can happen anywhere, so be vigilant to lock your vehicles and keep valuables out of sight."

Video of an individual breaking into a vehicle on Kentwood Drive in the rain was caught by surveillance cameras. View the video at https://www.facebook.com/178743352170569/videos/1967125899998963/

If you can identify the person shown in the video, contact Sumter County Sheriff's Office Investigator Randall Hilliard at (803) 436-2008 or (803) 436-2002.

According to Tonyia McGirt, public information officer for Sumter Police Department, the city began seeing an increase in reported vehicle break-ins last month with the majority involving vehicles that were not locked.

These and other crimes of opportunity are not out of the ordinary once temperatures are warmer, stated McGirt in a release, which is why the department strongly encourages everyone to always Lock It (your vehicle) Before You Leave It and remove valuables, especially firearms, from your automobile.

Sumter Police Department also encourages residents to secure lawn equipment. Never leave lawnmowers, trailers and other devices unattended and/or visible to passersby even for a short period of time.

McGirt also asks residents to help law enforcement by taking the necessary steps to protect their property and by reporting unusual activity and suspicious vehicles or persons that they notice in their neighborhoods.

For more safety information or to have a safety assessment of your home or business, contact Sumter Police Department at (803) 436-2700.