Car fire prompts arson investigation
An arson investigation was launched early Wednesday morning after a vehicle was set afire at a home on 37th Avenue North, according to Myrtle Beach police.
A neighbor had gone out on his porch around 1:45 a.m. and told police he saw a woman next to the 2006 Chevrolet Impala holding a bottle that looked like lighter fluid. The man watched the woman pour the liquid on the car then light it on fire, the police report.
The man yelled at the woman, who ran north, before telling the 20-year-old victim her car was on fire. Police were not able to find any suspects in the area.
The victim said her mother had the tires slashed on her vehicle a few days earlier but did not report the crime, the report said. She told police she recently quit working for a woman who had been running an escort business out of her home in the Spring Lake area and that her former boss had threatened her when she resigned, the report said.
Dollar General robbed at gunpoint
The Dollar General at 6213 N. Kings Highway was robbed at gunpoint around 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to Myrtle Beach police.
Security footage showed an older-model, four-door car drive into the parking lot before the suspect entered the store, the report said. Police are not sure if the car seen idling in the parking lot was used by the suspect due to a 10-second gap in the video. The man was wearing latex gloves and immediately brandished a black semiautomatic handgun.
The man ordered employees to place the cash drawers on the counter and then to open the safe. He stuffed an undetermined amount of money into a duffel or trash bag and fled on foot, the report said.
Police are investigating.
Golf tournament to honor former worker
Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue is hosting a charity golf tournament this August honoring Rhonda Brown, who worked in the administration side of the department.
Brown died earlier this year from cancer.
The tournament will be held on August 11 at Whispering Pines Golf Course.
Registration is limited to the first 32 teams. Entry for a four-person team costs $240, individuals can register for $60. The cost includes green fees, a golf cart, gift bags and lunch.
For more information, contact Lt. Christian Sliker, fire prevention officer, at 918-1221.
Puppy scam lands woman in jail
A Longs woman was arrested Wednesday when police learned she bought dogs with fake moneygrams throughout Horry County.
Crystal Gail Buffkin, 32, is charged with obtaining goods under false pretenses and giving false information to law enforcement.
Police started an investigation earlier this year into the fraud, according to Sgt. Robert Kegler, spokesman for Horry County police. Buffkin is accused of using fake moneygrams to buy expensive toy breeds of puppies.
Donna Gatlin is a breeder of miniature pinschers who said Buffkin bought a dog from her that was found in a shelter days later.
“I’ve turned myself into a vigilante,” she said. “We need to let people know. A lot more people will have broken hearts.”
Multiple victims were left without money and without the dog after trying to cash the handwritten moneygrams.
Police said Buffkin then took the dogs purchased with fake moneygrams and sold them at flea markets in Horry County and Florence County. She was arrested twice in June for similar incidents, according to police.
Air conditioning failure closes museum
The Horry County Museum will be closed Thursday.
It was one of two Horry County buildings closed Wednesday due to air conditioning failures, said Kelly Brosky, with the county.
The county’s library in North Myrtle Beach also closed, but was fixed. That location will reopen for regular business hours Thursday. The museum will reopen Friday.
Miss Grand Strand gets win in pageant
Summer Rayl, Miss Grand Strand, 24, won the physical fitness preliminary Tuesday in the first night of competition for the title of Miss South Carolina. The competition is being held at Township Auditorium in Columbia.
Rayl was one of four preliminary winners; the others were Anna Mills Polatty, Miss Capital City, 20, who won the talent preliminary for Miss South Carolina; Maya Shenissa Lynch, Miss River City Teen, 17, who won the talent preliminary in the Miss South Carolina Teen competition; and Rebecca Robinson, Miss Heart of Greenville Teen, 16, who won the evening gown preliminary for Miss South Carolina Teen.
The Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen pageants will continue this week with more preliminary competition, then the final competition will be on Saturday. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com and at the auditorium box office, 803-576-2350.
Miss South Carolina 2012 will compete for the title of Miss America in Las Vegas in January. Miss South Carolina Teen 2012 will compete for the title of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in Orlando, Fla., in August.
From staff reports