After an unprecedented high number of entering auto crime sprees in Bryan County over the last several months, authorities say they are finally getting a handle on the problem.
"During the summer months of this year, subdivisions in the southern end of Bryan County experienced an unusual amount if vehicle break-ins, approximately 100 total, with no subdivision exempt," Bryan County Sheriff’s Department Det. Mickey Sands said.
He said Sheriff Clyde Smith recently formed a task force, with patrol officers concentrating their efforts between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. – the time most of the crimes were reportedly occurring. Sands said the task force proved to be a valuable tool in both slowing down the crimes and solving many of the open entering auto cases.
The task force directly led to the arrest of four suspects. The names are being withheld pending the completion of the investigation, but Sands said "they were three white males and one Hispanic male and ages ranged from 17 to 28. They were all residents of Bryan County."
Two were arrested July 17 while leaving the Heron Point subdivision. On Aug. 19, two more suspects were arrested after fleeing from deputies in the same vicinity.
Sands said only three isolated incidents have occurred since those arrests.
Follow up investigations and searches of the four suspects’ residences reportedly resulted in a large amount of suspected stolen property being recovered. Out of the property seized, approximately 120 verified stolen items were returned to citizens of Bryan County, with some returned to citizens of Pooler and Savannah. This property included GPS’s, iPods, pistols, DVD players, laptop computers, stereo equipment, cell phones, cameras, sunglasses and golf clubs.
"Bryan County citizens are still being asked to secure their vehicles, especially at night," Sands said. "Also, they should either remove their valuables from the vehicle or place them in an area within the vehicle where they cannot be seen, and to record serial numbers if possible. This will facilitate returning stolen property to the rightful owner, if and when it is recovered."