SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Surfside Police Department is searching for others that may be connected in a string of car break ins.
Lt. Kenneth Hofmann with the Surfside Beach Police Department explains one man is under arrest, but they are seeking others.
The man in custody is 50-year-old Charles Michael Stanley from Myrtle Beach.
Hofmann says this is not the first time they have arrested Stanley for car break ins, and this time, they caught him in broad daylight.
Lt. Kenneth Hofmann said Stanley was "at a beach access, so many people are coming and going back and forth to their cars. If he, you know, operated without having to break a window or something. Someone might see him and not even realize what he's doing."
An officer noticed Stanley acting suspiciously and getting close to parked cars in the 3rd Avenue South Beach Access. They found a stolen gun on Stanley.
"We don't know what could happen to it or what is could be used for," Lt. Hofmann said. "Just from the circumstances to which it was taken it's probably not going to be used for legitimate purposes."
Police say the gun found stems from a car burglary in Horry County.
All together, Surfside has seen an increase in car break ins.
Last July, there were three and this July, there were fifteen, but Lt. Hofmann feels that spike stems from Stanley and whoever he may working with.
Investigators know there are more people involved because of a pattern.
"We know that their cars are being entered by some other method or tool that's being used," Lt. Hofmann said.
Lt. Hofmann doesn't want to jeopardize the investigation, so he could not go into detail about the device the culprits may be using, but explains the victims in this case say they are certain their cars were locked.
During these summer months, Lt. Hofmann says they do see more theft of property and cars being broken into, and although this is happening to locked cars as well, there are ways to avoid it happening to you.
"Lock those items in a truck if you have one," Lt. Hofmann said. "At least get them out of sight and out of view so someone's not tempted to get into your vehicle and take your personal belongings."
If you know any information at all, you are urged to call the Surfside Beach Police Department right away.