ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Investigators say three men are facing a total of 101 charges for stealing from relatives, businesses and a church.
Thomas Horne, 20, James Beason, III, 21, and Austin Tindall, 21, are facing 101 charges filed with the Orangeburg County Magistrate's Office ranging from first-degree burglary to petit larceny.
"These individuals started stealing items such as lawn mowers and similar yard equipment before moving up to breaking into at least one church," Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. "Fortunately, we've recovered a portion of these items which are on the way back to the owners."
OCSO officials say another subject is being sought for questioning while more charges could be possible.
According to authorities, at least 20 cases going back to late March involving nearly $30,000 worth of stolen items were closed by the arrests.
Ravenell said the items taken included power lawn equipment, utility trailers, and electronics. Many items were recovered during the search of a Branchville home.
During a hearing on Tuesday and also including a June 9 bond hearing on initial charges, bond was set on Horne at $118,501. Beason's total bond was set at $92,500 while Tindal's was set at $73,000.
"Some people may ask if we're throwing the book at them," the sheriff said. "Actually we aren't - they threw the book at themselves."
According to a report, the three were initially charged with a few counts of petit larceny and breaking into a church before discovering a trail of thefts that led from Neeses to Bowman.
"Investigators say the trio or at times a combination of the three stole a four wheeler and lawn equipment as well as stealing a pressure washer from a local business," OCSO officials said.
The sheriff's office stated that Victim's Advocate Alexis Guinyard told the court the thefts were committed against not only relatives of the subjects but businesses and also at least one church that was broken into.
"A woman who was one of several victims present Tuesday said that her riding mower was taken," authorities said."She said her concern, however, was she felt unsafe due to the mower being only a few steps from her door."
Horne faces 39 charges, including a first-degree burglary, four counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of grand larceny, 10 counts of criminal conspiracy, two counts of malicious injury to real property, one count of malicious injury to personal property, 17 counts of petit larceny, one count of shoplifting, and one count of malicious injury to a place of worship.
Beason is charged with one count of first-degree burglary, three counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of grand larceny, nine counts of criminal conspiracy, one count of malicious injury to real property, one count of malicious injury to personal property, 12 counts of petit larceny, and one count of shoplifting.
Tindall is facing one count of first-degree burglary, three counts of second-degree burglary, one count of grand larceny, seven counts of criminal conspiracy, two counts of malicious injury to real property, two counts of malicious injury to personal property, 15 counts of petit larceny, and one count of shoplifting.