HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County Solicitor's office is cracking down on crime in the specific areas of repeat offenders like shoplifting and gang-related crimes.
Business owners along Ocean Boulevard said they are some of the hardest hit spots for shoplifters. Buz Plyler, owner of the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove said, "We're a self service store, and we have a lot of stuff that someone could sell for five bucks."
Plyler said his store has been a huge target for crime. Plyler stated, "Everybody pays for shoplifting. A lot of people don't know it but to stay in business you have to increase prices for whatever your shrinkage is."
Mo Alasmar at University Rock 'N Roll said, "In here we get shoplifters almost everyday…about two or three of them a day. They actually are all over the boulevard."
Now Horry County Solicitor's Office is pushing for harsher penalties for those with long rap sheets which include shoplifting, petty theft and drugs. Horry County Assistant Solicitor Jimmy Richardon said there are about 40 repeat offender cases that will be dealt with in the next few months, and they are looking for a maximum sentence.
Richardson said, "Whether it be rehabilitation, whether it be just locking them away from the community whatever it takes…our idea is to get these people to stop that behavior."
The Solicitor's office said they have also seen an increasing presence of gang activity in the area. Horry County Assistant Solicitor Heather VonHerrmann said she will be addressing about 250 pending gang-related crime cases.
VonHerrmann stated, "Take those cases which are normally violent crimes…armed robberies, murders, they are cases involving weapons and drugs largely."
VonHerrmann said dealing with crime related to gangs could help keep everyone safe. VonHerrmann added, "These are people who are potentially going to try to recruit our children into these gangs and so we want to remove them from the streets."
The Solicitor's Office also said they are now addressing both the pending gang-related cases and the repeat offenders because they have a prosecutor dedicated to working on them. The cases could be in court starting in May.