'Thieves will be shot': Berkeley road sign warns

By Nikki

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) Art Nichols sells used construction equipment in Moncks Corner, and for thieves his business is a gold mine. In the past, he says surveillance cameras haven't worked. He hopes a threat, however, will.

About three months ago, he put up a big sign that sits on Highway 52 in Moncks Corner. Needless to say, it has many drivers doing a double take.

"This really gets their attention," the own of{}Nichols Equipment Inc., said.

Nichols hopes that sign sends a message that he means business. In big, bright letters, the sign bluntly reads: Thieves will be shot.

"We hope it'll be a theft deterrent," he said. "We're just looking to keep our place safe. We don't want any problems out of nobody."

In the last seven years, Nichols says he's lost nearly $75,000{}because of crooks repeatedly stealing from him.

"We've had a Ford pickup truck stolen. We've had a van stolen. We've had a walking floor trailer stolen, and we've had people who've tried to steal radiators out of the trucks," he said. "It's very disheartening when they (thieves) do get caught and the judges don't give them any time."

As recently as two weeks ago Nichols says thieves stole from him yet again.

"Each one of these vans, they cut, they removed the converters out from up under," he said.

In the past, surveillance cameras haven't been enough to stop crooks from trespassing on his property. That's where the signs now come into play.

"The sign bring people's eyes over, so they look out for our business," he said. "We get calls at night. If somebody sees somebody on the yard or vehicle parked here -- they'll generally call me."

So far, no thieves have felt the bite of one of Nichol's bullets.

As for if they ever will? "Well, we hope that doesn't happen," said Nichols with a smile.

Nichols says he has a night guard that watches over his business several times a week. He says thieves tend to target his business on either a rainy or foggy night.