A year later, authorities confirm guns were stolen during 2017 Darlington Police Department theft

Updated: Aug. 8, 2018 at 11:34 AM EDT
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DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - More than a year after the Darlington Police Department announced items were stolen from a locker in the department, Police Chief Kelvin Washington says firearms were a part of the theft.

Officials with the department have never revealed what was taken, until now.

This new information was not revealed until WMBF News presented the department with an internal law enforcement document given to WMBF News anchor Kaitlin Stansell by an anonymous source. It was a law enforcement advisory that listed almost three dozen guns and was dated as July 3, 2017. That's the same date Darlington Police Department officials originally announced the theft from their building.

WMBF News anchor Kaitlin Stansell scheduled an interview with the Chief about this document and the theft. She was set to talk to him Wednesday, August 8, but he cancelled the interview just two hours before and sent the below statement to all media agencies in the area:

In July of 2017, someone stole several items from the Darlington Police Department including firearms. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is conducting an investigation. Anyone with information about this incident should contact our agency or the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. As of today, no arrests have been made in connection with this case. Anyone with information about the person or persons responsible for the theft of these items should contact the Darlington Police Department or the S.C. Law Enforcement Division's regional office in Florence

The press release leaves many questions still unanswered. We  don't know if these guns belonged to the department, were collected as evidence or something else. Last July, the department said they would improve security within the building. New cameras were supposed to be installed just a week after the theft occurred. We confirmed today those measures were completed.

Darlington City Planner Lisa Rock said all new locks, coded doors, reinforced doors and additional cameras were added to the building, which also incorporates the whole of city hall. A metal detector was even added for court and city council meetings.

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"There were locks and stuff before, but now every employee has a key card, so if you're there after hours to get in," Rock said.

WMBF News also asked SLED for more information, sending a Freedom of Information Act Request. The request was declined on July 20, 2018.

"Be advised that SLED has an active and ongoing investigation into this matter at this time. As such, the records you seek are records and other information compiled for law enforcement purposes, and the production of such at this time would interfere with SLED's prospective law enforcement proceeding in this matter," SLED Agent Thomas Berry said.

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