HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – An officer investigating a burglary from a single mother and her young son in the Conway area found one of the stolen items, an Xbox, at a local pawn shop. The officer knew the mother's income was tight, so she went above and beyond and paid the pawn shop to get the boy's Xbox back.
Officer Shellneil Whitman was recognized as the Central Precinct's Officer of the Month for February, according to a Facebook post from the Horry County Police department.
Whitman responded to a burglary in the Conway area with forced entry where a laptop, Xbox and TV were taken from the home. During the investigation, Whitman learned the victim was a single mother with a young son. They didn't have much, but the mother was doing everything she could to provide for her and her son, the post states.
Whitman didn't have any leads, but she got the serial numbers for the laptop and Xbox, and entered them into the National Crime Information Center, the post continues.
The next day, Whitman got an email stating the Xbox had been pawned at a local pawn shop, HCPD officials said. She went to the shop and was able to identify three suspects in the burglary. Whitman then let the mother know she could get the Xbox back, but she'd have to pay for it.
Because the mother's income was so tight, she would not have been able to pay the pawn shop for the Xbox, the post states.
Whitman knew the mother's situation, and knew the she was truly trying to better herself and provide better for her son. Knowing full well that Whitman probably wouldn't get her money back, she still paid the pawn shop so that the boy could get his Xbox and one of his video games back.
One state senator is working to pass a law that would shift the burden of loss in cases like this from the victim to the pawn broker. Learn more about Sen. Greg Hembree's proposed legislation here.
As for the suspects? After several follow-ups and interviews, Whitman arrested all of them.
"Officer Whitman demonstrated compassion professionalism, and dedication throughout this investigation," the HCPD post states. "She brought great credit upon this Department and became a hero to a grateful young man."