COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Break-ins and attempted break-ins were reported at least four times since August 24th of 2018. And get this: it’s all at the same townhouse in the heart of the USC campus and caught on camera.
There were two reports in 2018 and two so far in 2019, but the last one was just two weeks ago.
The students who live at that Pickens Street location tell WIS they think it's the same burglar who continues to come back to the house and wind up on their security camera. But the Columbia Police Department says officers know for a fact that it's more than one person.
"It blows my mind,” said Jack Nealon, a student at U of SC. “The security camera is right there and has a pretty wide view.”
Nealon invited WIS into his home where he lives with a couple of other guys. The Ring security camera next-door in the adjacent attached townhome catches every movement that happens outside both doorsteps. Even with that security camera and the fact that it’s a heavily populated student-living area, they have a problem.
“When it's 4 in the morning, you're not awake,” said another student who lives there, Alec Fishman. “No one is. And someone is trying to break into your house. It's definitely unsettling."
Caught on that Ring security camera at least three times, Fishman and his friends say they’ve caught someone snooping around the house at least three times on that Ring security camera. The guy tries the front door, then the side door and finally gets in through an unlocked window. They tell WIS this person continues to target them.
“The fact that we live feet away from the school is pretty disheartening,” Nealon said. “I mean I moved here hoping it would be a safe location to live."
CPD tells us the guys on the different videos are not the same. In one video, where you can clearly see the individual’s face as he tried to dismantle the security video, police say that person was behind bars during the last burglary at the Pickens Street home. The said it was for unrelated charges. Regardless, someone or some people are getting in, and they’re taking electronics from right next to these students as they sleep.
CPD says they're aware of the problem – and have an investigator on it. The security footage helps.
"We're investigating,” CPD Officer Terrell McCombs said. “We're trying to get down to it the best way we can."
Nealon and Fishman say they're frustrated and want answers.
"We're doing what we can protection wise, but if this guy like comes in with some weapon… I don't know what we would do,” Nealon said.
CPD reminds students and others to be extra vigilant and lock their doors. Take all your valuables out of your vehicle and lock those too. Move valuables out of plain sight. If you’ve made a report, you can call 545-5400 to check on the status of your report and for a case number.