Citizen makes arrest in Ehrhardt

“One person’s junk is another person’s treasure,” is one lesson that four people had to learn the hard way last week. And attempting to make a citizen’s arrest is not always advisable is another. Three people have been arrested along with a juvenile and charged with trespass of real property and petty larceny in the alleged theft of property belonging to a Bamberg County man. Another person was expected to turn himself in Monday according to Bamberg County Sheriff Ed. Darnell.

Bonnie J. Burgess, 36, of Branchville, Matthews Jennings of Branchville, and Charles L. Beard of Bamberg were charged with trespassing and theft of (Metals, Non-precious) in the alleged theft of property belonging to Jasper Varn of Bamberg County.

According to a Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office incident report dated July 27, at approximately 8:28 p.m. a Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office deputy was sent to an address in reference to the victim having three subjects under arrest. The officer spoke to the victim who stated he found the subjects on his property and he tried to keep them there but they got into a vehicle and left the scene. However the victim was able to provide the officer with a tag number and was able to identify a juvenile in the car which led to their arrest.

“I told some people a few minutes ago, to them (the suspects) it was junk,” Sheriff Ed. Darnell said Monday, Adding, “ that’s his stuff and people need to leave it alone it was somebody else’s junk, it was not theirs to take.” The Sheriff noted that people are going around and seeing things on people’s property thinking they are going to “clean up the world” but if it is not yours “leave it alone” eventually someone is going to “really get hurt over this type of stuff.” Sheriff Darnell said the scrap metal that was taken will be returned.

As for as the attempted “citizen’s arrest” in the case, Sheriff Darnell noted “thank goodness he (Mr. Varn) didn’t do anything further.” Town of Ehrhardt Public Safety Chief Chad Dilling acknowledged the case had been turned over to the Bamberg County Sheriff’s Department and noted in helping to track down the suspects in the case that: “It’s very dangerous to take the law in your own hands.”

As for the concerns expressed by a number of citizens in the county about the perceived increase in the number of burglaries and break-ins occurring Sheriff Darnell noted: “We’re certainly having our fair share, not anymore than usual, I wish we weren’t having any at all.” Sheriff Darnell noted that with the economy the way it is, there are people who “don’t want to work” “they want to take it from somebody else.” Sheriff Darnell said the department is making progress in fighting property crimes: “We’re making some arrests and would like to make more, that’s just the country we live in today. People don’t want to work, but they want what you got.”