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Pawleys Island: Town traffic cameras lead to sex offender’s arrest
By Charles Swenson
A Conway man who is a registered sex offender was arrested last week on charges that he exposed himself to a child riding her bicycle on Pawleys Island, according to Pawleys Island Police. Chief Michael Fanning said the town’s license plate cameras led them to the suspect.
The girl, 11, was riding east on the North Causeway around 5:30 p.m. on April 23 when she saw a white GMC pickup pass then pull off the road, Fanning said. The girl cut through the nature park and found the man’s truck waiting. He called her over and asked directions to “Main Street.”
When the child approached, the man told her he was masturbating, according to Fanning.
The girl rode home and told her father, who went searching for the suspect and the police.
“She was a good witness,” Fanning said, and gave him a description of the man’s pickup. He checked the data from the license plate camera installed by the town last year and matched the truck to the Conway man, 73. He was convicted in Virginia in 2008 of “taking indecent liberties with a minor,” according to the state’s sex offender registry. The victim in that case was a 13-year-old girl.
The man was also charged by Horry County Police with failing to register his vehicle.
If he had, Fanning said, the camera system would have alerted police when the man drove on the island. The camera records showed the man drove onto the island around 5 p.m. He left at 5:27, but turned around when he spotted the girl, Fanning said.
Without the system, Fanning said the man probably would not have been caught. “There are a lot of white GMC pickups,” he said.