Sheriff, deputies request help from business owners to cut crime

Published: Nov. 15, 2016 at 11:09 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2016 at 6:21 AM EST
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RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - When a 20-year U.S. Marine veteran walks into your store wearing tactical gear and trailed by a TV crew, you can't blame the folks behind the counter for being a little surprised.

But this mission for Deputy Peter Hart involves making friends, not fighting.

Hart is one of several Richland County deputies who have been sent out to help North Main Street business owners know the agency needs their help cracking down on crime.

"When you see the specialty shops," Hart said, "you know typically you don't see the same crime you would see at a gas station or at a restaurant."

The deputies dropped off letters from Sheriff Leon Lott asking them not to allow loitering, drugs, sales of counterfeit merchandise, drinking, or other activity. Stop that, said the sheriff, and the area will have an improved quality of life and a better climate for legitimate businesses.

The sheriff's letter did contain a warning for businesses that might decide not to cooperate. Sheriff Lott told the businesses he'd be forced to bring in the solicitor's office to take legal action if they don't help police their property.

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