Burglaries, Break-Ins on the Rise

Someone walked away with more than $4,000 worth of car parts from a Blythewood car dealership earlier this month as thieves cut their way into the fenced lot at Mickey D’s on Wilson Boulevard and hacked away the catalytic converters from underneath eight cars parked there. The break-in, and others like it, has prompted the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to urge individuals to take the time to secure their property and be more vigilant.

“Over the last three months, we’ve seen a significant number of burglaries in the 29016 zip code,” Capt. Chris Cowan said. “We believe these are multiple suspects acting individually. They are forcing entry, stealing electronics, appliances and computers – getting in and out quickly. We’re asking citizens to be vigilant. No matter how small something seems, if it seems suspicious, call 9-1-1.”

In the Mickey D’s break-in, unknown subjects cut their way through the fence near the rear of the lot sometime between the time the business closed at 8 p.m. Dec. 4 and the time it re-opened the next day at 8 a.m. Damage to the fence was estimated at $300.

Once inside the compound, thieves cut away the catalytic converters from two Honda Odysseys, a Cadillac DeVille, a Chevrolet Impala, a Chevrolet Silverado, a Honda Accord, a Pontiac Grand Am and a Jeep Grand Cherokee, for a grand total of $4,400.

Mickey Dinkins, the owner of the business, said that since 2006 his lot has been broken into approximately seven times, and Cowan reiterated that burglaries have been trending upward in the area in recent months.

Cowan recommends that residents take a good look at their home – their locks, outdoor lighting, landscaping and alarms. Collectively, he said, these four things can make a big difference in securing one’s home. The Sheriff’s Department will send a deputy to your home to help you review your security, Cowan said, so residents can make any necessary upgrades. Deputies will also, at your request, patrol your home if you plan to be away for any significant amount of time.

To have a deputy review your home’s security, call the Community Action Team at 803-576-3191. In addition to the emergency 9-1-1 number, Cowan also offered these helpful contact numbers:

• Main Number – 803-576-3000

• Non-Emergency – 803-252-2911

• Region 6 Office – 803-865-8011

• Community Action Team Deputy Jeff Beaman – 803-309-6668

• Special Property Checks – 803-576-3180

The Region 6 Commander, Capt. Roxanna Meetze, can also be reached via email at [email protected]

“Look out for one another,” Cowan added. “Be aware of your surroundings. And remember, nothing is too small to report.”

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