String Of CSRA Vehicle Break-Ins Being Investigated - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

String Of CSRA Vehicle Break-Ins Being Investigated

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Augusta, GA -

Over the past week, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office has seen an increase in vehicles being broken into. Officials are is asking the public, if they noticed any suspicious persons or activities within the following areas, to please notify them at 706-821-1080.

Waverly Area:
8 car break-ins occurred over night Sunday night and Monday morning. All vehicles were left unsecured and small items such as Cell phones, Ipods, and GPS units were taken.

An attempted burglary also occurred within this area during the same time-frame but a nearby homeowner was able to assist in preventing this from occurring.

Forest Hills:
8 car break-ins occurred between July 17-21 which occurred overnight and were struck 2 at a time. 6 vehicles had windows broken and 2 were left unsecured.

West Wheeler:
6 car break-ins occurred overnight on July 28. 3 vehicles had windows smashed and 3 were left unsecured.

Lieutenant Lewis Blanchard, of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, is urging safety measures such as ensuring that vehicle doors are locked and all items within a vehicle are removed from site. Additionally, expensive items such as firearms, tablets, laptops, and other valuables should be removed from vehicles or, at the very least, locked in the trunk of the vehicle. Please report suspicious activity immediately to 9-1-1 and provide them with as much information as possible to include descriptions and vehicle tags when possible.

Monday night, residents of Shoreline Drive in North Augusta fell victim to at least nine vehicle break-ins. Shortly before midnight, North Augusta Department of Public Safety (NADPS) officers observed an unoccupied vehicle parked at 428 Shoreline Drive with its interior dome light on and the passenger side door open. It was quickly confirmed by the homeowner that his 1999 Toyota 4Runner had been broken into.

Nearly two hours later, Public Safety officers responded to a report of a suspicious person in the same neighborhood. According to the witness, the subject appeared to be wearing gloves and looking into cars. Officers in the area made contact with a second victim on River Club Lane, who told officers her 2007 Cadillac had been broken into.

Other responding officers to the area observed a tall white male at the River Club Golf Course. As he was being approached, he dropped the bookbag he was carrying and ran from the Police. One officer secured the bookbag and another gave chase on foot after him until the suspect disappeared into the swamp. A perimeter around the area was quickly established and the Aiken County Bloodhound Tracking Team was contacted. The team arrived and briefly ran a trail before losing the scent. The contents in the bookbag belonged to victims of vehicle break-ins earlier. During the search, a NADPS dispatcher received an anonymous phone call (later determined to be the male suspect using a victim's cell phone) telling them he had gotten away.

At around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, NADPS received another call from a woman on East Shoreline Drive wanting to report the theft of her cell phone and her grandmother's 2002 Buick Lesabre. She says she had woken up during the night to discover her phone was missing and went downstairs to look for it.  It is at that time she found the contents of her grandmother's purse thrown out on the kitchen counter and the refrigerator door open. She reportedly looked in the garage to find her grandmother's car gone as well.

The follow up investigation conducted by NADPS leads investigators to believe the tall white male suspected of multiple vehicle break-ins, after running from the police and in a panic, found the open garage at the residence to hide in while the Police were searching the area around the golf course. Once there, investigators believe he found the interior door unlocked and went inside the residence and hid until he felt it time to leave. Detectives responded to the scene of the burglary and processed the residence for any evidence left behind by the suspect. While inside the residence, the suspect made no contact with any occupant.

NADPS is actively working the investigation to identify the unknown white male. Anyone with information about his identity or information about the vehicle break-ins is urged to immediately contact North Augusta Public Safety at 803-279-2121 or Crimestoppers of the Midlands at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).

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