Florence County neighborhood hit with crime - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Florence County neighborhood hit with crime

A suspect is seen wearing a mask and hat in the Wedgewood neighborhood. (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office) A suspect is seen wearing a mask and hat in the Wedgewood neighborhood. (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office)

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Wedgewood community in West Florence is looking for answers after multiple car break-ins have hit the area recently.

A residential camera system in the neighborhood installed at one woman's home, Brenda Schneider, said it is helping her feel a little safer.

Her camera system captured images of a suspect in her front yard wearing a hat and a mask. The images are clear, but the Florence County Sheriff's Office said there are not identifiable characteristics of the suspect.

Schneider also serves as a board member for the Wedgewood Homeowners Association. 

“I keep my doors locked," said Schneider, who also serves as a board member for the Wedgewood Homeowners Association. "I have a security system on my windows and my doors, and now I have cameras." 

Those are just some of the precautions Schneider takes to protect herself, and just within one month of installing the camera system outside her house, this incident of criminal activity happened on her street.

Officials with the FCSO said they have reports of nine car break-ins in just a week-and-a-half.

“Who knows what could have been done if he didn’t see my camera and turn around in the middle of my yard and looked up and saw the camera," Schneider said. "But he still went to my neighbor next door and tried to get into his truck, so he was brazen, very brazen."

Investigators said the reports have been of stolen hand guns, purses and wallets, things they said should never be left inside a car. They do believe residential cameras are a great tool that provide 24-7 security for homeowners and especially hope they can bring help during investigations..

Even if residents have a security alarm system on their car, the alarm will not sound if glass is broken and a door has not been opened.

Investigators also said it's more than just money being stolen from wallets. There are addresses, personal identification cards, Social Security cards and pictures of loved ones.

“We have to know what’s going on in our community. We just can't pull the car into the garage, close the garage door and go in the house and not be bothered with anything," said Schneider.

The cameras in her backyard also show the suspect coming through her gate where the hinges are broken off, she said.  

“Communication is key. Whether it's Facebook or email or texting, whatever, neighbors have to care about neighbors," Schneider said.

The Florence County Sheriff's Office said, at the very least, create a communication network in individual neighborhoods and sign up for a formal crime watch program with deputies.

If anyone has any knowledge or information concerning these incidents or is able to identify the suspect(s) they are asked to contact FCSO investigators at (843) 665-2121, ext. 395, or Crime Stoppers of the Pee Dee at (888) CRIME-SC. 

Callers do not have to reveal their identity to leave information. 

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