Update: Surveillance footage details suspect in vehicle break-in
Published 11:30 am Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Items ranging from spare change to a laptop were stolen from at least a dozen vehicles on Balaclava Drive and other nearby locations early Wednesday morning in a mass break-in.
According to Greenville Police Department chief Justin Lovvorn, officers received a report of a vehicle break-in on Balaclava Drive at approximately 4:50 a.m. Wednesday morning.
When authorities arrived on the scene, they found a vehicle that had been left unlocked. It looked as though someone had gone through it during the night, though nothing was missing from the vehicle.
But the first discovered vehicle that had been rummaged through turned out to be the exception rather than the rule.
“Officers then began to canvas the area to look for suspects and anything suspicious,” Lovvorn said.
“Officers located several other vehicles in the area that appeared to have the door slightly cracked or ajar, in which it appeared someone may have opened the door and gone through the vehicle. All of the vehicles were left unlocked by the owner and most of them could not find anything missing from the vehicle.
“Officers checked from Woodvalley Road all the way over to Overlook Road, going door to door to make sure all other vehicles were secure and not tampered with. At this time, we have written 12 reports for victims who had their vehicle broken into and had some items taken from them.”
In addition to those reports, an AR-15 rifle was taken from an unmarked police car while parked at an officer’s residence overnight. The vehicle was unlocked at the time, and Lovvorn said that the officer responsible for the vehicle is facing disciplinary action for not following department policy on securing his weapon.
Lovvorn added that there was no forced entry into any of the vehicles, including the unmarked police car.
And though most of the items taken were loose change or otherwise minor items, he added that a few of the vehicles contained a large amount of cash or higher-priced items such as a laptop.
The case was turned over to the Greenville Police Department’s investigations division, whose members have since gathered surveillance footage from residences and businesses near the thefts. One of the videos details a potential suspect, though it remains unknown how many total suspects may be involved.
“We know there is at least one, and we have information that there were three at one point,” Lovvorn said. “We’re not going to say there weren’t more than that, but we know of three right now.”
In addition to locking one’s doors, authorities added that one of the most important preventative measures citizens could take is to alert officers of unusual activity in the area.
“We have had more than one person say that they heard something that night, or even saw something,” Lovvorn said. “We have eyewitness accounts of people seeing individuals in their yard that night who were the ones involved, but didn’t think enough of it to call law enforcement.
“We just ask that if anyone has something out of the ordinary going on at their house or outside that they don’t hesitate to go ahead and notify us and let us determine if it’s something we need to look at and deal with. Most people have an instinct not to want to bother someone, but people need to understand that we have officers working 24 hours a day who are out on the streets looking for something to do all the time. And they just need to call us and let us come over to check things out, no matter what time of day or night.”
Additionally, there is a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest and/or recovery of the stolen AR-15 rifle. Those with information regarding the case or the theft are asked to contact the Greenville Police Department at 334-382-7461 and ask for an investigator.