Several homes in one Riceboro community repeatedly have been burglarized in recent months, according to Riceboro resident Erika LeCounte.
She said her home on Briar Bay Road was burglarized in late August. In addition to taking several flat-screen televisions and some jewelry, she said the thieves stole her laptop computer, which she relies on for her home business.
“Not only have I lost thousands of dollars of valuables, so did my handicapped neighbor that I sometimes look after,” LeCounte said. “His home was robbed and the burglar took a $2,000 (64-inch) flat-screen TV.”
“Fortunately, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department was able to recover it (from a pawn shop). Unfortunately, three days later, his home was broken into (and his TV was stolen) again!”
LeCounte said her neighbor, who is legally blind in one eye, has been compensated by the insurance company for the lost television, but he’s afraid to buy another one for fear it also might get stolen.
According to Liberty County Sheriff’s Office reports, LeCounte’s case started Aug. 29, when $2,678 worth of personal items were taken from her home. The investigating detective’s report noted no sign of forced entry but did mention a bedroom window with a lock that did not work.
LeCounte said the officer did not dust her home for fingerprints, which surprised and annoyed her and her husband, Richard. She said they told the detective about a person they thought might have been breaking into neighbors’ homes.
LeCounte said LCSO officers take 13-15 minutes to reach Riceboro when an alarm goes off.
Another burglary took place Sept. 9 on Barrington Ferry Road in Riceboro, according LCSO reports. During the incident, two guns and a power mower were stolen. LeCounte wondered whether there was a connection with the Aug. 12 break-in at the Riceboro post office.
The sheriff’s office got a break Wednesday, Sept. 26, when neighbors spotted two young men in the vicinity of a Shell Road home that later proved to have just been burglarized. Detective Julie Hibbeler arrested Antonio Marquis Stewart, 17, and a juvenile whose name was not released.
“They were seen near the property by two neighbors, or I should say, people who live in the neighborhood,” Hibbeler said. “They were not next-door type neighbors. I was able to recover a majority of what was taken — two laptops, two notebooks and some jewelry. There are still a few things missing.”
Hibbeler said some burglars unload stolen goods through pawn shops, but most sell the goods on the street. She wouldn’t elaborate on her investigation but said, “Let’s just say there are more bad guys out there.”
“We are fully aware that there are other ‘bad guys’ in our neighborhood,” she said. “That is why I’m working so hard to have them exposed. (I also want to) let my neighbors know we really have to look out for one another in times like these.”