Almost $270,000 in equipment stolen in reported Horry County IT theft, police say

Sun News File photo

Horry County officials released more information late Thursday related to the theft from the county’s IT department, reporting nearly $270,000 worth of goods were taken.

Horry County police officials were dispatched Nov. 30 at 10:52 a.m. for a reported embezzlement of more than $10,000 of goods, according to a 33-page Horry County Police Department incident report.

The report states that an IT worker learned of the missing items during an inventory. The equipment was bought between June 2015 and August 2018. Police believe the items were stolen.

Fourteen Cisco computer switches were entered as stolen into a national database, the report states. A switch works similar to a home router and allows multiple computers to connect to the internet.

Horry County officials released the report after multiple requests from The Sun News. They initially denied releasing the report. The decision to not release the information seems to violate South Carolina Freedom of Information Act laws. The law requires public bodies to make reports available for copying and inspection during normal business hours when the requester appears in person.

A Sun News reporter made the request for the report at the M.L. Brown Building on Dec. 4, just days after police were dispatched for the incident.

State FOIA laws do allow for some information in police reports to be withheld, such as details that could directly impact a police investigation or information about how police conduct investigations. The state’s supreme court has ruled that even if protected information is removed the non-exempt information should be provided to the public.

The FBI is assisting the county in its investigation into the theft, and spokesman Don Wood said there is no indication there was a “data breach” as part of the theft.

Police have not arrested anyone in connection to the case.

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Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.