By Dean Stephensdstephens@abcnews4.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- If you've had you car broken into in the past three months in the town of Mt Pleasant, you are not alone. According to crime reports listed on the Mt. Pleasant's Police Departments website, there were 76 reports of auto break-ins.
They weren't confined to just one area of town; the break-ins spread from the Old Village to Park West to Belle Hall and neighborhoods that line Whipple Road.Maj. Stan Gragg of the Mt Pleasant Police Department believes prevention starts with the vehicle owner."We encourage people to remove all valuables from their vehicles and lock their doors. Install motion activated lighting in the area they park their vehicles and definitely make sure the doors to their garages are secure. Record serial numbers of their valuable items and be vigilant in looking out for suspicious activity or people," said Gragg.The police department may have gotten a break in the case of at least 20 of the car break-ins. According to police reports, an 18-year-old arrested on separate charges told officers that he had broken into at least 20 cars along Whipple Road.
After further investigation, police arrested and charged 18-year-old Thomas Hansen and 18-year-old Jesse Hawfield with two counts of auto break-in. A juvenile suspect was also taken into custody, police said.
Police say those break-ins occurred on King street on May 30, 2012."Those persons were responsible for a large portion of the break-ins in and around Belle Hall, Whipple Road, and the Old Village. At the very least this should decrease the number of vehicle break-ins. However, with that said they are not the only persons breaking into vehicles because we have had auto break-ins since those guys were arrested," said Gragg.
Both Hawfield and Hansen remain at the Al Cannon Detention Center under $50,000 bond.ABC News 4 also requested auto break-in incidents from the City of Charleston as well as the City of North Charleston. We are still waiting on those reports."The key is to make yourself a hard target and not one of opportunity since the majority of our break-ins are of unlocked vehicles," said Gragg.