MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Some people living in one part of the city are concerned after police say a man was caught breaking into vehicles there for the third time in four years.
26-year-old Jerrett Leary of Socastee is charged with first-degree burglary and eleven counts of breaking and entering into vehicles. U.S. Marshals working with the Myrtle Beach Police Department arrested Leary on Thursday.
Leary appeared in municipal court for a bond hearing Friday afternoon. His bond was set at $420,000.
Andrew Groelinger is one Market Common resident aware of recent thefts in his part of the city.
“I’ve heard about the break-ins over the past couple months,” Groelinger said. “There’s been a lot of discussion about it in the Nextdoor neighborhood app, the Facebook app, things like that.”
Leary is accused of stealing from nearly a dozen unlocked vehicles in Market Common, parked at homes around the Emmens Preserve and Cresswind neighborhoods. Police reports say in the last two weeks, about $600 dollars was taken from those vehicles.
Two laptops, eight movies and a vehicle battery charger were stolen from a pickup. Other items reported stolen from vehicles include a 9 mm firearm, wallets, a black Maglite flashlight and a Cold Stone Creamery gift card with $15 on it.
One resident also had surveillance video of a break-in. Investigators say a man was seen going through bags taken from a car and his movements were “sluggish.”
Police say Leary was first convicted of stealing from vehicles in Market Common back in 2016 and received about a three-year sentence.
“In 2018, he was arrested again for committing the exact same crimes in the Market Common community,” said Sgt. Lester Cook, who’s with the property crimes unit of MBPD. “On April 1, he was released from the J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Conway and here we are again.”
Police fear Leary is a flight risk. Sgt. Cook says Leary told officers that if he got out, he would return to West Virginia.
A city lawyer says those accusing Leary of stealing from them are worried he’ll return to Market Common.
“They all have concerns if he gets out on bond,” said Cheryl Finkel, who’s with the city’s victim advocate office. “A lot of the people had things stolen that are important to them.”
Groelinger says he hopes Market Common isn’t becoming a criminal target.
“People get a little sleepy around here,” he said. “They get a little relaxed in their safety and they just feel secure. It’s just a reminder you always need to be diligent and aware.”
Leary’s next scheduled court date is July 11 in Conway.