LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) – During the early-morning hours of July 13, one of the employees at the Bell & Bell Buick GMC in Little River quickly noticed something on the lot didn't look right.
As he walked over, he saw a devastating blow.
"One of the employees that usually gets here pretty early called my wife and myself, and said there was one out there jacked up on blocks," said service manager Harold Floyd.
It wasn't the first time this dealership has been hit but Floyd knew this time would be different, thanks to a new coding system many might think was invisible.
"You can't even see it from any other part of the rim," Floyd said.
When someone takes a closer look, a code suddenly appeared.
After thorough testing of the code system - painting over it dozens of times - the dealership found you could still see it. Sanding it down, it could still be seen.
Just three days prior to the incident, technicians started to put the codes on every wheel on the lot.
"And that just happened to be one of the vehicles the wheels were taken, so we were anxious to see how it really did work," Floyd said.
Though there were other factors to help track down the wheels, including security cameras and social media, Floyd said the code system did its job.
"Even one of the officers said there is just no way, without having the tracking and the codes on those rims, that they would have ever been able to place them back to this dealership," he said.
The dealership thanks Horry County police for finding the wheels within 48 hours and wants to soon share this coding system with the public in the hopes of stopping these types of crimes once and for all.