As people flock to Grand Strand, police provide tips on how to stay safe

As people flock to Grand Strand, police provide tips on how to stay safe

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Police are urging you to be aware as millions of people from out of town flock to the Grand Strand. Tuesday, a young woman was approached in her car by a man asking for a ride.   A few days later, a woman was robbed at gunpoint in the same place, Coastal Grand Mall.

Savannah Green was walking to her car outside of Dillard's when she noticed three men standing near it.  When she got in, one of the men approached her window with a long story to tell.  Green said her instincts kicked in and she knew it was time to leave.

"He started talking to me, telling me he was from Conway...telling me he was coming down here for work because there wasn't much in Conway.  He looked harmless, he looked like someone I would hang out with.," Green said.  As the man continued with his story, he told her he had cut down a tree and it was in a truck, and pointed her to his truck. Green said she decided it was time to cut him off, and in an effort to politely leave, asked if he needed cash.  He told her he needed a ride to the gas station.  Green said she pulled out of her parking space then and she told him to grab an Uber.

Green said now she thinks about the 'what if' factor.  "So then I started to think again more...what if the other two guys were to come around to my car while the guy there was distracting me...and could've easily gotten in and told me where to drive and where to go," she said.  She explained the two men she saw with the man who approached her disappeared.  Although she safely left, she hopes her experience is a warning sign to others to always be aware.

Lt. Joey Crosby, spokesman for Myrtle Beach Police, said to always be mindful of your surroundings.  He suggests to always have your keys in-hand as you walk to your car, and if something happens to make noise either by setting your car alarm off, talking loudly or yelling.  He suggests parking as close as possible to your destination, and also in populated and well-lit areas.  However the key, he said, is to stay off your cell phone.  It's an all too easy distraction.

Green was at the mall to get her phone fixed, so she was without it when she went to her car to wait on it.  "Nothing like that has happened to me before.  I'm always cautious though, I'm always prepared..every time I leave the mall, or any grocery store.. I always have my phone and my keys in my hand...I'm just always prepared and like, ready, because you never know these days," she said.

Ironically, Green said her boyfriend was grabbing lunch at the mall the next day and his tools were stolen from his truck.

Lt. Crosby said there hasn't been a spike in crime at Coastal Grand Mall.  Green said she will still shop there.

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