Rash of Car Break-ins lead to recovered firearms in Spartanburg County

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SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg County deputies are investigating a string of burglaries in seven neighborhoods on the western side of the county last week.

Deputies say 21-year-old Brandon Dwayne Tucker, another adult and a juvenile face more than 100 charges after their crime spree in Sapphire Pointe, Carlton Creek, Berry’s Pond, Rogers Mill, Lake Emory, Oak Forrest, and River Falls neighborhoods.

Deputies are still searching for a third suspect. They say the two adults are facing charges including possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of firearms, car breaking, larceny, and more charges are possible. Investigators recovered three guns and two stolen vehicles.

“They’re not jimmying locks,” said Lt. Kevin Bobo with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. “They’re not breaking windows. The car break-ins they were successful with were from unlocked cars.”

Neighbors say the two were caught around 4 a.m. Thursday and say they ran the stolen car they were driving into a deputy’s car before they fled.

“It was an interesting morning because we had about 10 cop cars sitting in front of here,” said Mike Olbeter who was a victim of one of the car break-ins.

Bobo say two of the guns that deputies recovered were found inside a four-year-old child’s playhouse.

“In all probability, a child would have found those guns hidden under some leaves before an adult,” Bobo said.

Deputies say people leaving firearms in unlocked cars is a problem in the county and are urging people to lock their doors or take their guns inside.

“Two of the last homicides we’ve had in this county resulted from guns stolen out of car break-ins,” Bobo said.

Lt. Bobo says Antonio Panuamba, 17, a Byrnes High School senior, who was killed in Larkin Park in May was shot with a gun stolen out of an unlocked car. They were able to trace that gun back to the owner by the serial number that he provided deputies at the time of the theft.

Neighbors say they’re looking at extra security, and one neighborhood has even considered making their neighborhood gated. But they say this is a lesson learned, and they’re going to be more careful.

“I don’t think any citizen would want to find out that a gun they left unsecured was used to kill somebody else,” Bobo said.

Tucker has a long history of breaking into cars and petit larceny.  Deputies say Tucker is also responsible for recruiting juveniles and creating a theft ring.

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