Richland sheriff warns

Sheriff: ‘Weird’ intruder breaking into Columbia area women’s apartments is dangerous

jmonk@thestate.comSeptember 11, 2013 

— A “weird” intruder who has broken into four Columbia area women’s apartments during the night is potentially “extremely dangerous” even though he has not assaulted any of them, said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

“He just stands there and looks at them until they wake up and sense someone is in the room,” Lott said.

“There have been no sexual assaults – that’s what makes it weird. He’s just standing there and looking at them,” the sheriff said.

“When he’s discovered, he runs away.”

The break-ins have taken place in the Dentsville area of the county, which is just outside Columbia, off Two Notch Road and just east of I-77 on the way to Sesquicentennial State Park. The apartment complexes are Palmetto Garden apartments, The Chimneys apartments, Hunters Green apartments and Hunters Mill apartments.

The break-ins occurred between 4 and 6 a.m. on Sept. 2, Sept. 9 and twice on Tuesday at those apartment complexes.

Lott said that most burglars break into unoccupied houses during the day because they don’t want to encounter a homeowner.

“Anybody like this fellow who breaks into houses at night when someone is sleeping is a serious threat because you don’t know what he is capable of doing.”

Lott said deputies are mounting intense efforts to catch the man, but he declined to disclose his techniques so as not to alert the culprit. “We are doing everything possible.”

Lott said the man just stands in the room and doesn’t make any noises. “At some point, the woman wakes up and realizes somebody’s there. Then he leaves.”

In some apartments, there have been other people in the apartment, but the women he’s targeted have all been sleeping alone, Lott said.

Lott advised any women who see the man to make noise, scream and “call 911 immediately.”

Lott asked women to be sure all sliding glass doors, windows and doors are securely locked. “Our goal is not to let him into the house.”

The intruder is described as a black male of unknown age, standing 5-8 to 6-feet tall and wearing a dark hoodie.

Anyone with information that might help in the investigation is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (888) CRIME-SC (274-6372) or text ‘TIPSC plus your message’ to the # 274637.

Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.

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