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Fort Mill area hit with two dozen car break-ins in less than a week; guns stolen

Another dozen car break-ins reported Wednesday are part of a trend in York County.

Unlocked vehicles are being rummaged through in large numbers.

According to the York County Sheriff's Office, 12 unlocked vehicles in the Brayden community were broken into overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. A tweet from the sheriff's office stated "all could've easily been prevented" by locking vehicles.

Brayden is in unincorporated Fort Mill, but break-ins are happening in town, too. Overnight from May 24 to 25, Fort Mill police responded to nine auto breaking and entering calls, for a total of 12 vehicles. All but two of those reports stated the vehicles were unlocked. None of the reports listed a known suspect.

Multiple police reports from those incidents noted they appear "to be related to a spree" of break-ins. All the vehicles were parked in the driveways of their owners.

Several reports mention nothing was taken. Center consoles and glove boxes were sifted through, but no damage or loss occurred. In one, a backpack was taken from the vehicle, but was found in the front yard.

Not all residents were so fortunate. In one incident, a shotgun was reported stolen. The owner didn't have the serial number, so it wasn't entered into the law enforcement system as stolen. In another case, a gun was reported stolen from an owner of two broken-into vehicles. One man had $95 stolen from his wallet, and the wallet was found in his yard near his truck. Another resident had $200 in damage to a vehicle.

The latest incidents come as law enforcement officers work to get more people locking their vehicles.

After items were taken from 19 vehicles in the Clover and Lesslie areas May 24 and 25, the same night as the Fort Mill vehicle break-ins, the sheriff's office upped its online awareness campaign of a #9PMRoutine.

Using #9PMRoutine or #LockItOrLoseIt on Twitter, or the similar #7AMRoutine as a morning version, law enforcement sends out reminders and tips on locking homes, vehicles, sheds, trailers and other valuables each night before bed and each morning before leaving the house.

Still, the break-ins continue. On May 24 the Tega Cay Police Department tweeted car thieves had been "hitting all around Tega Cay" for three weeks. The target was unlocked vehicles.

In February, seven break-ins were reported in a Rock Hill area neighborhood in a night.

Last fall a Fort Mill and a Rock Hill man were arrested on 18 charges of car break-ins in the Rock Hill area. Two years ago, a North Carolina teen was charged with breaking into more than 50 cars in the Fort Mill area in a night.

John Marks: jmarks@fortmilltimes.com; @JohnFMTimes
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