Crime & Courts

Evacuated for Florence, gated coastal community hit by break-ins. Jewelry, more taken

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While people were evacuated from their homes during Hurricane Florence, a series of burglaries in a high-end coastal community resulted in the theft of a safe containing more than $100,000 in items as well as a set of handguns and jewelry, according to police reports.

Pawleys Plantation sits just inland from the Atlantic ocean and between the small towns of Simmonsville and Pawleys Island in Georgetown County. The community of multi-million dollar properties includes a golf and country club.

Like all of Gerogetown County, Pawleys Plantation was under order to evacuate from Sept. 10 to 16 as Hurricane Florence came through South Carolina. As Pawley’s Plantation homeowners were away, six of their homes were broken into.

Investigators are treating the incidents as related, according to Jason Lesley, spokesperson for the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Department.

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Police were alerted to the first break-in on Sept. 12 when a resident checked on a home on Sandwedge Loop. The police report says the burglar may have entered through a back door that was likely left unlocked. The owner was out of town but spoke with police on the phone. Bedroom drawers were rifled through and a jewelry box in the closet was missing all its drawers, the report says.

The next day police were called to another home on Sandwedge Loop, where a friend of the homeowner was watching over the house and noticed an open door. Police found a back door pried opened. In the master bedroom, jewelry boxes were scattered and emptied on the bed.

On Sept. 14, an officer noticed an open door on Masters Drive. The officer found the insides pilfered through. Another house next door was also invaded.

“It was found that entry was made thru the front door,” the police report says.

The homeowner said that three handguns were missing — two .38-caliber weapons and a .40-caliber Glock, totaling up to about $2,000.

On the last day of the evacuation, a thief made off with the biggest haul of the hits, according to a police report. A victim said someone had run off with both of her safes after coming in through the back of the home. The safes contained $100,000 in items and $20,000 in cash, she told police.

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Prison reform advocate Stephanie Serna and others want prisoners who are in the path of Hurricane Florence to be evacuated and tried contacting Gov. Henry McMaster at the State House for information without luck.

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