ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Three Orangeburg County men are facing more than 100 charges altogether in connection to a number of burglaries and larcenies.
101 charges have been filed with the Orangeburg County Magistrate's Office ranging from burglary to petit larceny for Thomas Horne, 20, James Beason, III, 21, and Austin Tindall, 21.
These individuals started stealing items such as lawn mowers and similar yard equipment before moving up to breaking into at least one church," Orangeburg Co. Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. "Fortunately, we've recovered a portion of these items which are on the way back to the owners."
There are at least 20 cases dating back to late March involving nearly $30,000 worth of stolen items were closed by the arrests. During a hearing on Tuesday and also including a June 9 bond hearing on initial charges, bond was set on Horne at $118,501. Beason's total bond was set at $92,500 while Tindal's was set at $73,000.
Investigators initially charged the men with a few counts of petit larceny and breaking into a church before discovering a trail of thefts that led from Neeses to Bowman.
Investigators say the trio, or at times a combination of the three, stole a four-wheeler and lawn equipment as well as stealing a pressure washer from a local business.
A woman who was one of the several victims present Tuesday said that her riding mower was taken. She said her concern, however, was she felt unsafe due to the mower being only a few steps from her door.
Ravenell said the items taken included power lawn equipment, utility trailers, and electronics. Many items were recovered during the search of a Branchville home.
"Some people may ask if we're throwing the book at them," the Ravenell said. "Actually we aren't - they threw the book at themselves."
In connection with these arrests, a fourth man was arrested during a search of the stolen items.
Shakir Koger, 33, was arrested with more than two and a half pounds of high-grade marijuana in his possession.
"We were conducting a search in unrelated cases involving more than 100 warrants served on three men who had been stealing dozens of yard equipment-related items for the past three months," Ravenell said. "During that recovery effort, we ran across this individual."
Investigators were executing a search warrant at a Stephens Street residence in Branchville where they located Koger on the premises. Inside a vehicle in plain view was an opened backpack that appeared to contain marijuana.
The bag contained a loaded .9mm handgun, several grams of cocaine, and marijuana worth an estimated $12,000 in street value.
Koger is charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. His bond has been set at $30,000.
Investigators went on to locate electronics and outdoors equipment related to a string of thefts in which three subjects have been arrested and charged.