Horry Co. thefts have RV owners, campgrounds on edge

Horry County, SC - HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A string of RV and camper break-ins in Horry County has left thousands of dollars in damage in its wake, and now some businesses in Horry County fear the crimes are too much for local law enforcement to handle.

Sgt. Robert Kegler, spokesman for the Horry County Police Department, says investigators were dispatched to Camper Country on South Kings Highway on March 12 following reports of a RV break-in. During the commission of the crime, investigators say two flat screen TVs and a DVD player were stolen.

Despite the criminals stealing hundreds of dollars in electronics, police say they left something else behind - nearly $5,000 worth of damage to the camper.

As police continued to investigate the March 12 incident, investigators say criminals struck Camper Country a second time on March 21. This time, however, police detail several campers were broken into. A number of flat screen TVs were taken from the campers, resulting in additional vehicle damage.

While Country Camper may be a prime target for the criminals, they're not hesitating to pull a punch at Carolina RV, either. Manager George Cunningham says his business has also been targeted and it's resulting in a big loss to his bottom line.

"We can't afford to put the stuff back in right away," Cunningham explained. "The customer comes in, looks at the unit and there's stuff missing. It looks bad and he wants a discount or won't buy it. It's really hurting our business."

Cunningham estimates at least 100 campers at area dealers have been broken into in the last six months. Despite flat screen TVs being the primary target, those responsible are also stealing stereos, amps and speakers.

The thefts in Horry County have put many RV camp grounds on high alert, including Ocean Lakes Campgrounds. Officials hope newly installed video cameras and barbed-wire fences will help keep the thieves at bay.

"[Unfortunately], the fence only keeps out the honest people. If they do want to get in, they can," said Ocean Lakes Manager Lance Thompson.

Horry County Police are urging anyone who may have information on the thefts to contact investigators at (843) 915-TIPS.

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