2 women accused of squatting in Sumter home, stealing from animal rescue


Two South Carolina women face a slew of charges, including burglary and financial identity fraud, after being discovered living in an unoccupied Sumter residence.

Megan Brooke Williamson, 36, of Spartanburg, and Karen Gail Smith, 40, of Lake City, were arrested after being found squatting inside a Valleybrook Court residence on April 25. The pair was charged with third-degree burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle, chop shop (alter, deface, destroy vehicle ID number), two counts of criminal conspiracy, financial transaction card theft, six counts of financial identity fraud and grand larceny valued at more than $2,000 but less than $10,000, according to Mark Bordeaux, public information officer for Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies met with the property manager of the residence who called after discovering someone had pried a lock and damaged a door at the home before finding Williamson and Smith inside along with a 15-year-old minor. Allegedly after being confronted, the women claimed to have leased the home and provided a fraudulent lease, Bordeaux said.

Following an investigation, deputies arrested Williamson, charging her with third-degree burglary for entering the unoccupied home while committing the offense of malicious injury to personal property, according to Bordeaux. A search warrant was also executed at the time of Williamson’s arrest. Deputies found a stolen vehicle from the city limits and its VIN sticker removed from inside the vehicle. As a result, Smith was also arrested and charged with third-degree burglary, Bordeaux said.

Investigators determined the women were stealing from a local animal rescue and at least two of its employees after evidence was collected during the search and from interviews with victims and witnesses.  

Both were taken to Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center where Smith is being held on a $59,995 bond. Williamson, originally arrested on May 21, was released on May 30 after posting a $28,495 bond. Since that time, eight additional warrants have been issued for her arrest following further investigation.

Additional charges are possible.