An 18-year-old Graniteville man was charged with several car break-ins Wednesday after a resident caught him trying to break into a vehicle and held him until police arrived, according to the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.
Russell Brice Kendrick, of Oak Street, was charged with three counts of breaking into a motor vehicle and one count of simple possession of marijuana. He was placed in the Doris C. Gravat Detention Center, where he remained on Wednesday afternoon.
A 21-year-old man saw Kendrick in his yard on Pine Street in Graniteville at about 3 a.m. Wednesday, trying to enter his vehicle, according to a sheriff’s report. Kendrick allegedly went to a nearby home and entered a vehicle there, but the homeowner followed him, pulled him out of the vehicle, took him back to his home and held him there until police arrived.
There were 12 vehicle break-ins reported to the Sheriff’s Office between Monday and Wednesday, according to reports. Kendrick is listed as a suspect in two reports from break-ins on Pine Street and Pine Circle in Graniteville.
Other break-ins were reported on Whaley Pond Road in Graniteville, Pearl Lane in Williston, Bristol Avenue in Aiken, Glastonbury Court in Beech Island, Williams Way in Beech Island, Wythe Drive in Graniteville, Joyner Pond Road in Aiken and Round Stone Drive in Graniteville.
At least seven of the vehicles had been left unlocked, according to reports. The owners reported a variety of items missing, including firearms, GPS units, sunglasses, credit cards, cash and miscellaneous documents.
Kendrick was found to have a GPS unit that was reported stolen from the Whaley Pond Road break-in, the report stated. He also had a pair of Nike shoes, two packs of cigarettes, two lighters, two knives, a flashlight, a brown leather change purse, a Tazer, a cellphone, a jewelry box containing earrings and a necklace, assorted coins and a plastic ashtray.
In the ashtray were several small cigarettes that appeared to be mostly smoked, police said. Kendrick told officers the cigarettes were his and that they contained marijuana.
Sgt. Jason Feemster, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said it hasn’t been determined if Kendrick will face charges in the other break-ins, pointing out how “spread out” the locations are. He said many break-ins can be avoided if people simply locked their vehicles.
“Lock your doors,” he said. “That’s the biggest message we keep trying to send home to people.”
Feemster also stressed taking valuables inside with you, parking in a well-lit area, and having additional lighting installed where you park your car at home.
“Things like that would deter people from trying to get into your vehicle,” he said.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since 2012.