Man going out for morning run helps solve series of car break-ins

BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Investigators say an 18-year-old is behind bars for at least 17 vehicle break-ins in several Lady's Island neighborhoods after a man going out for a morning run caught the teen breaking into his car.

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office says it all started when a resident in Spanish Moss came out of his home for a morning run early Sunday morning. The resident said he then saw Jeremy Walter Gilliland rummaging through his vehicle, and confronted him.

Authorities say Gilliland then took off, but was located a short distance away by deputies. The teen was positively identified, placed under arrest on four counts of breaking into a motor vehicle and released from jail Monday morning.  

Officials with the sheriff's office say as multiple reports of vehicle break-ins were reported throughout neighborhoods in Spanish Moss, Southern Magnolia and Marsh Hawk Plantation, investigators worked to connect the incidents.

An incident report states a search of Gilliland's 2001 Chevy S-10 yielded evidence placing him at several vehicles that were broken into. In each of the incidents, investigators say Gilliland got into the vehicles through an unlocked door and stole various items such as cash and electronics.

Investigators then secured additional warrants for Gilliland which led the teen to surrender to authorities Wednesday morning.

The sheriff's office says Gilliland may be responsible for other break-ins, and an investigation into his possible involvement into other vehicle break-ins remains active. Authorities say Gilliland may have not been working alone.

Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator Cpl. A. Zsamar at (843) 255-3408.

Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.