A 27-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman, who were both barefoot when stopped by police, were arrested in connection with larceny of fruit after authorities said about 32 watermelons were taken from a large patch in Galivants Ferry.
Jack Ozie Beall of Nichols and Lorie Marlean Brown of Galivants Ferry were each charged with stealing melons or fruit and released from the J. Reuben Detention Center Sunday on $125 bail, according to jail records.
Horry County police spoke with a 55-year-old man Saturday who said that about 30 to 40 large watermelons had been taken from his patch off Burroughs Road in Galivants Ferry.
The victim said someone told him they saw Beall and Brown selling the watermelons at a produce stand near the Aynor and Galivants Ferry area recently and believed they may have been taken from his field, police said.
An officer said he had stopped Beall and Brown earlier that morning about 1:33 a.m. Saturday after seeing them commit moving and equipment violations near Edwards Road and Joyner Swamp Road, which police said was very close to where the theft occurred.
Police said Beall and Brown seemed very nervous when being questioned and claimed they were coming from Columbia with the watermelons and had gotten turned around trying to get home, according to the police report.
Authorities also said they had fresh dirt on their arms, hands, and clothing.
Police did not know of the theft at that time and Beall and Brown were free to go after the traffic stop and given warnings on the violations.
However, after receiving information about the theft later and while on patrol 11:30 p.m. Saturday, police saw Beall and Brown’s vehicle parked near the victim’s watermelon patch, but no one was in it, authorities said.
Police searched the area, but did not find the pair nearby, but later saw the vehicle travelling down Edwards Road and performed a traffic stop, authorities said.
The officer who stopped Beall and Brown said they were both barefoot, and their feet were covered in dirt, according to the report.
Police said Brown admitted to taking about 32 watermelons from the victim’s patch without permission and said they had come back to take more watermelons that night and had hid when they saw police nearby, authorities said.
Police said based on the information provided by Brown, Beall was also arrested in connection with the theft.
Authorities then phoned the victim, who said he wished to press charges.
Contact ELIZABETH TOWNSEND at 626-0217 or on Twitter @TSN_etownsend.