NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — An investigation is underway after a break-in and burglary Monday night at the Salvation Army Family Store on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach.
According to police, someone broke into the side of the building behind a wooden gate where the store’s air-conditioning unit is located.
“We found this morning when our staff showed up to prep the store,” said Capt. Carl Melton, command officer of Salvation Army at Horry County.
Police said the suspect entered the store after hours by sneaking through a weakened side panel and then made their way into the office.
“Totally destroyed the safe where the money was,” Melton said. “So, that was the only thing we could tell. Obviously, there’s an investigation going on and we’re trying to see what else was taken. But as of right now, we know that the contents of the safe were taken.”
A police report said the store manager was preparing to open the store at about 8:30 a.m. and noticed that the safe had been destroyed and the money was taken out of it. A claw hammer was found near the safe.
After noticing the damage and theft, the police report said the manager immediately left the store and locked the door before calling the police.
According to a police report, security video obtained from a nearby church showed a man in a dark shirt and light pants approaching the store on a bicycle at about 10:15 p.m. The video also shows the suspect approaching the rear of the store.
While inside the store, News13 spotted loose change next to some broken pieces from the damaged safe and drywall dust on the ground.
The store is currently closed until further notice for the investigation, clean up and repairs.
But that isn’t the staff’s biggest concern.
“The [monies] raised in these stores, they go to help the community,” Melton said. “They specifically go to direct services to help people who are needing financial support. It helps go to our programs, like, our school of music and any number of programs and services that we’re providing.”
Melton said 80 to 85 cents of each dollar they take in goes back to direct services.
“Somebody in our community thought so much of themselves that they came and took something that wasn’t theirs,” he said. “And that’s disheartening.”
Melton said that he’s glad everyone is safe, but that his staff at the store was shaken up.
“We’re meeting with staff, we’re meeting with our team to try and figure that out at the moment,” he said. “Certainly, we want to avoid this moving forward.”
Melton has worked for the Salvation Army for more than five years. He said this is the first time someone has ever broken into one of their Horry County stores.
He said he wants people to know that they can be trusted with the money that’s coming into the store.
North Myrtle Beach police are asking any witnesses or anyone who has surveillance in the area of the 400 block of Main Street to call 843-447-9386.
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Jackie LiBrizzi is a multimedia journalist at News13. Jackie is originally from Hamilton, New Jersey, and was raised in Piedmont, South Carolina. Jackie joined the News13 team in June 2023 after she graduated as a student-athlete from the University of South Carolina in May 2023. Follow Jackie on X, formerly Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and read more of her work here.