Capt. Freddie Gault with the Union Public Safety Department said a 15-year-old boy has already been taken into custody and transferred to the Department of Juvenile Justice. Authorities are looking for a second 15-year-old boy, and the 23-year-old man who brought them to Union. The boys will be charged with six counts of burglary and three counts of attempted burglary. The man will be charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
On Feb. 15, six businesses in and around Merchant’s Walk Shopping Center were broken into, with businesses damaged and small amounts of cash stolen.
Friday morning, attempted break-ins were discovered at Citi Financial, Radio Shack and Rent A Center, all located in the Merchant’s Walk Shopping Center on 410 North Duncan By-Pass. Damage was estimated at $50 damage at Citi Financial, $800 at Radio Shack and $100 at Rent A Center.
Friday evening around 7:45, Cpl. Scott Coffer was called to Best Check Advance on 745 North Duncan By-Pass after a burglar alarm activated. An employee met Coffer there. As she opened the front door, Coffer noticed the back door was open. Coffer made sure no one was in the building and called for Investigator Mickey Parker. The employee told Coffer she didn’t think anything was missing from the business. Coffer took pictures and noticed a shoe print on the door. Damge was estimated at $300.
A few hours later, Coffer was called to Union Square Cinemas after someone reported two men were trying to get in vehicles. Coffer located the suspects — the two 15-year-olds from Barnwell. They told Coffer they were just “looking around.” Coffer noticed they had on the same type of shoes that had made the print at Best Check Advance.
The boys told Coffer they were staying at American Economy Inn with a cousin.
Gault said Parker had decided to conduct surveillance on businesses in the area because of the break-in reports. He arrived and went with Coffer to escort the boys back to the motel.
Coffer gathered information on the boys while Parker contacted the mother of one of the boys. She said she had “no clue” he was in Union and she was on her way to pick him up.
Gault said as officers were gathering information, the other boy admitted to the break-ins from the prior weekend. He said the crimes had been committed while their cousin was in the motel room with the girl and the cousin had no knowledge of what the two boys were doing.
Motel records confirmed the two boys had been staying with the 23-year-old man at the motel the night of the six burglaries.
“Mickey worked through the night and into the morning interviewing people and gathering information,” Gault said.
By this time, the boy whose mother was contacted had been allowed to take him home and the 23-year-old also had been allowed to leave. Gault said the boy is scheduled to surrender to Barnwell authorities today and the cousin’s information has been placed in the National Crime Information Computer.
Gault praised Coffer, Parker, Sgt. Larry Robinson and the entire shift for the job they did in solving the crimes. He thanked the Union County Sheriff’s Office for its assistance.
Gault warned parents of allowing teen-agers unmonitored use of the Internet.
“The Internet is a great tool if used correctly,” he said. “But parents of young teen-agers have to understand that a lot of harm can come to somebody from using it. Don’t be scared to ask where your children are and what they are doing. They can become a victim so fast. It’s sad, but a lot of people will take advantage of a young person if given the chance and that is what this guy did.”
Janice Lynne Crosby, 37, of 217 Harwood Heights, was charged Friday with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She was released Saturday from the Union County Jail on $5,000 surety bond. An arrest warrant signed by Investigator Brian Bailey said Ms. Crosby allowed several gatherings with persons under the age of 21 at her home and allowed them to consume alcoholic beverages.
Charged with forgery
Kenndy Durval Thomas, 44, of 1208 Linersville Road, Buffalo, was charged Friday by the public safety department with forgery. He was released from the jail on $2,500 surety bond. A warrant signed by Bailey said Thomas forged a check on a woman’s account for $200 to the City of Union on Feb. 9.
Ryan Curtis Goodman, 35, of 121 North Church St., Union, was charged Friday by the public safety department with distribution of marijuana and distribution of marijuana within one-half mile of a school or park. He was released from the jail on $10,000 surety bond. Arrest warrants signed by Parker said Goodman sold marijuana to a confidential informant on North Church Street on Sept. 30. The sale occurred within one-half mile of USC-Union.
The public safety department is investigating two break-ins reported on 401 Highland Drive. On Feb. 13, the victim told PFC Eddie Williams that someone took $500 in cash from under his bed and a planter full of change was missing from beside the bed. The front door had been pried open.
Friday, the victim told Officer Randy Canupp he came home and fond his front door open and bent. A Pringles potato chip can full of pennies was stolen, along with $1 from under the mattress.