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Pawleys Island: Town considers cameras at beach accesses

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Surveillance cameras at public accesses could cut down on the number of thefts from vehicles, Pawleys Island Town Council members say.

Police arrested four teens last month on charges that they entered unlocked cars. Two were also charged with first degree burglary after police say they admitted stealing an iPhone from a beach house. They had a .38 caliber pistol with them during the burglary, according to police.

A tracking feature on the iPhone allowed the owner to pinpoint its location at a house off the South Causeway where one of the teens lives. Police showed up there the next day.

“The kid just turned completely white,” Chief Guy Osborne told council members this week.

He said police are also at work to find out how a lawyer in Kentucky acquired $2,000 to $3,000 worth of electronics that were stolen from cars on the island earlier in the summer. The lawyer shipped the items to the police department with a note saying attorney-client privilege didn’t allow him to disclose how he got them.

“We’re pursuing it,” Osborne said.

Council Member Glennie Tarbox asked if Osborne would recommend cameras at beach accesses.

“Absolutely,” Osborne said.

“There’s something to that,” Council Member Mike Adams said. “That might cut this stuff down to a bare minimum.”

Osborne said he once looked at an $85,000 camera system that would read license plates of vehicles crossing the two causeways to the island. While that could help identify suspects in crimes, “I think that’s infringing,” Osborne said.

Cameras at beach accesses, along with signs that make people aware of the cameras, would be a deterrent to break-ins, he said.

The town has started work on its budget for 2012, and cameras could be included in the police department request.

However, Osborne also pointed out that none of the vehicles that were entered were locked. “It makes it real easy,” he said.

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