I could have sworn I left my bag here: Myrtle Beach PD sees stream of beach thefts

Staying safe on the water in Myrtle Beach

Lt. Jonathan Evans with Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue talks about staying safe while enjoying the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
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Lt. Jonathan Evans with Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue talks about staying safe while enjoying the ocean in Myrtle Beach.

A fun trip to a beach can easily be ruined by rain, by loud neighbors or by sand getting where it doesn’t belong.

But, dozens of families in Myrtle Beach have faced a different party stopper — returning from a dip in the ocean to find their belongings stolen.

Myrtle Beach police have responded to numerous complaints of items being taken from beachgoers in recent weeks, including five on Sunday, two on Thursday and a handful last week.

Some of the incidents were:

  • On Thursday, police responded to 34th Avenue North after a victim said he moved his chair closer to the beach and away from an umbrella with his possessions. When he returned, his beach bag was stolen.

  • On July 14, officers went to 7th Avenue South after a woman said while she was in the ocean, someone took her backpack that had cellphones, a car key and cash inside.

  • On July 8, officers went to 6th Avenue North for a theft report. The victim said she was in the water a man went to her bag, places his on top and then start to go through her belongings. The woman said she then confronted the suspect. A police report states “the incident location has been a trouble area for recent larcenies.”

Police officers say it’s important for beachgoers to secure their items before frolicking in the sand.

“Don’t leave your items unattended,” Cpl. Thomas Vest said bluntly.

People can leave their items locked in their car while they are at the beach, Vest said. Though he warned if they are just left in plain view on the seat of a car, that too can be welcoming to criminal activity.

Vest described thefts from the beach as a crime of opportunity.

Myrtle Beach has two officers who patrol the beach in addition to various fire personnel in the area, Vest said.

If someone reports theft from the beach, officers will investigate it the same as any other crime, Vest said. In the past, the agency has done stings where they put out items, leave them “unattended” and have plainclothes officers nearby.

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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.