From LCSO release
Thefts from Church Properties
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office is investigating several thefts that occurred at area churches during services, Sunday, March 10, 2019. The first incident was reported just after noon at New Hope Baptist Church, 3731 Lynwood Drive at New Hope Road. The owner of an unlocked 2003 Chevrolet 2500 truck with an enclosed trailer attached came out after church to find his truck and the trailer missing. The truck and trailer contained two firearms and power tools. Witnesses saw the truck and trailer leaving the parking lot followed by a dark colored car with no hub caps but assumed the victim was driving the truck. The truck and trailer were found abandoned hours later in woods off New Hope Road between Beach Lane and Cabinet Drive. One of the firearms and the tools had been taken from the truck and the trailer, and the stereo had been removed from the truck.
At 12:20 p. m. a deputy was dispatched to Crestview Baptist Church at 2228 Douglas Road. The owner of a locked 2012 Chevrolet Impala prepared to enter her car after church and noticed a small hole punched into the door below the driver’s door handle. The victim’s cell phone was taken from the center console.
At 1:30 p. m., after word of the thefts had circulated, the owner of a 2003 Honda Accord flagged down a deputy in Indian Land to report that Sunday morning he attended services at Camp Creek United Methodist Church, 4721 Great Falls Highway. As he left the church he noticed the contents of the passenger compartment of his unlocked car had been rummaged through and a $20.00 bill was missing.
The last incident was reported just before 2:00 p. m. The owner of a 2004 Chevrolet pickup got home from services at Bethel Baptist Church, 2893 Bethel Road, and noticed that his wallet containing identification and bank cards, a pistol, and cassette tapes were missing from the truck. The truck was locked while he was inside the church. There were no signs of forced entry to the truck. The victim received an alert from his bank that one of his bank cards had been used at Dollar General in Kershaw early Sunday afternoon. His wallet was found on the ground near the stolen.truck and trailer in the woods off New Hope Road.
Video surveillance images from Crestview Baptist Church show a black or dark colored four-door sedan entering the parking lot during services. The car appears to have stock shiny wheels on one side and dark wheels on the other. A black male wearing a black shirt, camouflage pants, and black shoes with white soles walked through the parking lot. Video from Dollar General shows a black male wearing similar clothing and a flat bill Chicago Bulls cap in the store at the time the transaction was made. Investigators are uncertain whether the man at Crestview Baptist Church and the man at Dollar General are the same person, but it is evident that at least two people were involved in the New Hope Baptist Church incident. Still photographs from video surveillance are attached. Investigators need to identify the person or persons shown in the photographs and contact them to see if they know anything about the thefts.
“One of the last places we should expect our possessions to be taken is at church while we are worshipping,” said Sheriff Barry Faile. “From the facts we know so far, it appears these thefts are related and two or more people acted in concert to commit them. Our criminal and crime scene investigators are working hard to solve these cases, but we encourage anyone with information about these incidents to contact us.”
Anyone with information about this or any other case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or contact Midlands Crimestoppers in one of the following ways: dial 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372), log onto www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and click on the “Submit a Tip” tab, or download the P3 Tips App for Apple or Android devices.