A pocketful of purloined peppermints and witness statements helped Horry County police determine they had the right man in custody in connection with a home burglary on Bermuda Way Wednesday morning, according to an incident report.
Myrtle Beach officers detained a suspect, identified as 26-year-old James Keaton Mahaffey in the report, at a business on the 900 block of 48th Avenue North near Bermuda Way.
Myrtle Beach police told arriving county officers they got a call about a home burglary and found a man detained by another man when they arrived.
The man holding the suspect told police he saw the suspect and another man cross a woman’s fence, dropping items as they left.
Police then interviewed the 75-year-old woman who told them she was only gone briefly, but when she came back, she found her bedroom in disarray. She noticed jewelry boxes holding expensive items had been emptied, and said her sliding glass door was ajar.
As Horry County police walked through her home, an officer recalled being told the suspect detained had peppermints in his pocket.
The officer noticed a dish holding peppermints in the victim’s kitchen, and the victim told him candy was missing from it. Police spoke with the suspect who told them a witness had grabbed the wrong guy.
Mahaffey told police he was walking from the area of International Drive and stopped at the business on the 900 block of 48th Avenue North to use a phone. He became scared when he was confronted by a witness and ran, he said. He told police he was then tackled by one of the witnesses.
Police searched him and stated they “found a quantity of the exact peppermints the victim advised were missing from her dish in the kitchen,” according to the report.
Officers then questioned the truthfulness of his version of events, but he insisted he was telling authorities the truth, police said.
Witnesses statements were consistent, and authorities combed the area and found a black trash bag with items missing from the victim’s home including, some of the victim’s missing jewelry and snacks, the report states.
Police said given witness statements, identify conformation, and the suspect possessing the missing peppermints and other items, he was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary.