Sumter County deputies investigate spike in home break-ins -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sumter County deputies investigate spike in home break-ins

Sumter County Sheriff's Office Sumter County Sheriff's Office
Sheriff Pete Smith, Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith, Sumter County
A camouflaged camera the department is using around Sumter County to crack down on crime A camouflaged camera the department is using around Sumter County to crack down on crime

Sumter County law officers are warning homeowners about a rash of break-ins. Sheriff Pete Smith is utilizing hidden cameras throughout the county to try to catch the thieves, and is urging homeowners to keep an eye out for each other

Deputies say thieves ransacked a quiet home on Old Dawson Road in South Sumter County on Thursday. 

"People are out of work.  There's a lot of things abandoned, the economy, people are desperate," said Sheriff Pete Smith, Sumter County. 

Silver, guns and electronics were taken. "They dropped one TV out in the yard and busted it, and then they loaded the other one up in a wheel barrel and took it down and had a car pick them up, or a truck," said the sheriff.

Another home on Shiloh Road was burglarized a week before. Thieves ripped a TV off the wall, but didn't touch a case full of 24 guns. 

"One reason is a lot of times they don't think that TV can be tracked as easy, plus they'll sell it to an individual or somebody on the street."  (Sheriff Pete Smith, Sumter County).

It's the latest site of a string of robberies in empty homes, which the sheriff said could be connected. He said thieves look for signs the owners are away, and move in. "In these situations I do worry about...especially our elderly citizens.  A lot of kids getting home from school and their parents are still at work," he said. 

So far, no one has walked into a burglary, but the sheriff said he's working to find the suspects before anyone gets hurt. 

"A person that will break in while somebody is home, he'll hurt you…and he'll harm you," said Smith. "I don't advocate anybody shooting anybody, but that's one time that you would have every right to if you feel threatened."

The department is now hiding camouflaged cameras around the parts of the county to identify the suspects. He said the crimes are most prevalent in the remote neighborhoods, and is urging residents to install surveillance cameras and alarm systems in their home. 

"Biggest thing that people have to think about is we've got to prove these cases," said Smith. He said residents should write down serial numbers of any household guns, and take photos of jewelry and other valuables.

"It's like a lot of people, when you suspect something, when your gut tells you something ain't right, it probably ain't," Smith said. 

The sheriff said thieves spend days casing homes before they hit.  He said neighborhood watches will play a key role to stop the crimes. If you notice anything unusual, report it right away.  


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