Car dealerships in Pee Dee, Grand Strand lose thousands of dollars to thieves
South Carolina (WPDE) —
General managers of car dealerships in Horry County and in the Pee Dee tell ABC15 News they've lost tens of thousands of dollars to thieves.
In Horry County, Tom Raschiatore said criminals damaged seven trucks this week at Hyatt Buick GMC.
The thieves smashed windows, cut wires, and stole the tires and rims. The total cost of the damages and losses, once itemized, could reach more than $40,000, the general manager said.
"I came in yesterday morning and thousands of dollars worth of tires and wheels, vehicles broken into, body damage. It's become an epidemic. We need to stop the epidemic and the theft that's going around here and not just here with all car dealers, including Horry county and out in the Pee Dee,” Raschiatore said.
Several dealerships in the Pee Dee have also been hit by criminals.
John Keyes is the General Manager at Mike Reichenbach Ford Lincoln in Florence. He said they’ve been hit seven times since October 2016. In total, he said they’ve lost about $30,000.
The CFO at King Cadillac Buick GMC said his dealership has fallen victim to theft too.
"It's very costly and I'm hoping they'll catch whoever is behind this. They've hit us several times. It's pretty expensive. We just have to be vigilant and do the best we can to prevent it,” he said.
Raschiatore said he hopes someone will come forward.
“There are people out there that know who is doing this, and we need your help and I'm speaking for everyone that is in Horry County and also in the Pee Dee,” he said.
Capt. John Harrelson is with the Criminal Investigation Unit at the Horry County Police Department. He said he couldn’t comment specifically about any cases, but said. in general. things like tires or rims can be difficult to track.
“If it is something that can be easily sold, not in a retail environment, from say person-to-person, to track those things may be a little more difficult than it would normally be,” he said.
Harrelson said surrounding departments are constantly in contact to see if any crimes could be connected.
“Do they break the same window every time or do they steal the same type of item? Do they steal the rims off of cars every time? Are the items missing from each of those instances the same and consistent throughout?” he said.
The owner of Hyatt Buick GMC is offering up a $10,000 reward to anyone who provides a tip that leads to an arrest in the case.
If you have any information about the Hyatt Buick GMC theft, call Horry County Police.
If you have any information in the incidents at car dealerships in Florence, call the Florence Police Department.