BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Authorities are investigating the theft of several utility vehicles in Beaufort County.
Over the last two months, officials with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office say they have fielded fifteen reports of stolen utility trailers.
According to the sheriff's office, the thefts have been primarily concentrated in the areas of Beaufort and Burton, with only one theft reported on Lady's Island.
The sheriff's office says it is unknown if these thefts are connected or share common suspects.
During an attempted theft of a trailer on Sept. 23 from a home on Pine Grove Road, a witness reported seeing a small blue or green SUV leaving the area pulling a neighbor's trailer. The saw a white male suspect standing on the trailer's hitch, holding onto the SUV as the suspects drove away.
Investigators say however, when the SUV turned onto Shanklin Road, the trailer became detached. Both suspects fled the scene prior to deputies' arrival, and the stolen trailer was successfully recovered; however, no suspect identification has been made.
The sheriff's office released the following statement and tips for trailer owners:
Owners can help protect themselves against theft by increasing the level of effort required to access and steal a trailer. Even trailers stored in gated/locked facilities can be better protected by employing one or more of the following tips:
• Park the trailer with the hitch against a building, or in an area not easily accessed by a vehicle.
• Remove one or more of the wheels, or utilize wheel locks during storage.
• Chain the trailer to a tree, post, or other fixed structure.
• Utilize hitch pin coupler locks, ball locks, and/or aluminum coupler sleeves.
Trailer owners are also encouraged to photograph the trailer and record the make, model, and serial number. These efforts can assist law enforcement in identifying a stolen trailer and increase the odds of recovery.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers.