Bamberg Police Department
In the early morning while on patrol on July 3, two Bamberg officers noticed a fire truck turn North onto Highway 301 from Highway 78. One of them immediately contacted dispatch to find out if the fire was within the city limits. Dispatch confirmed that it was a structure fire on Swan Lane, which is in the Bamberg city limits.
Upon arrival on the scene, the officer began walking around to ask bystanders if they knew how the house fire started. The officer spoke with a male and a female at the scene. The male witness stated he had spoken with his nephew earlier in the evening who told him that he was going to do something “devilish” that night. The female stated that that same individual was the one that supposedly started the fire, but she could not confirm that.
When the officer had gone back to get the two individuals’ names for his report, the female became defensive and said that she was not saying anything and would not tell anyone who did it. The officer informed the female that he had her on his body worn camera making a statement that she thought the subject had set fire to the house. The officer then spoke with the male again and asked him if he was sure that it was his nephew who burned down the house. The gentleman stated that he was positive that it was his nephew that did it. The gentleman did not see his nephew start the fire, but from his previous conversations with him earlier in the day, he was sure it was him. The gentleman also stated that the clothing between a white car and the front fence belonged to his nephew as well.
The officer immediately contacted his superior and advised him of the situation. He informed his superior that the house was unoccupied and that the fire was suspicious/undetermined in nature. Once the fire department left the scene, the two officers secured the scene with police tape, and one remained at the scene to preserve the crime scene.
The S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) was notified, and the superior obtained a search warrant. SLED arson agents arrived and began processing the scene. While the superior was on the scene, the owner of the house arrived. The owner stated there was power to the house, but it was not insured, and he was maintaining the property.
Five days later on July 8 at approximately 4:42 p.m., the superior received a call stating that the suspect was at a George Street address just outside the city limits. The officer had dispatched the county, and he and another officer assisted them in trying to locate the suspect, as he is known to flee from law enforcement.
Upon arrival on the scene, the officers were told the suspect had relocated to a Swan Lane address. The officers arrived at the Swan Lane address and were told that the suspect had gone back to George Street. As the officers approached George Street, a deputy stated that he had seen a subject walking on George Street and then disappeared into the woods.
The officers canvassed the area and located an abandoned house near the previous address. One officer went to the rear of the house toward the wood line and as he was checking the rear of the house, a foot appeared through an open window. The officer ordered the subject to exit the house through the front door where he was taken into custody by Bamberg County sheriff’s deputies and taken to jail. The subject has been charged with arson.
In other reports:
• On July 7, an officer responded to a Third Street business in reference to a disorderly male. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with the complainant who stated the subject had come into the store talking very loudly. The complainant said that she just wanted the subject to leave.
The officer made contact with the subject, who seemed to be intoxicated. The officer told the subject to leave, but the subject started talking “out of his mind,” according to the report. The officer again advised the subject that he needed to leave the property. The officer then saw an open liquor bottle sitting beside the subject. The subject was being loud and boisterous, according to the report, and the officer informed him that he could not have the open container and asked him to pour it out.
The subject then began to argue, becoming belligerent and started cussing. The officer then decided to place the subject under arrest and called for assistance. The assisting officer transported the subject to jail.
• On July 15, EMS was called to Foster Park in reference to a male lying on the ground moaning. Dispatch advised Bamberg units to secure the scene. An officer arrived on the scene to find a white male sitting on the ground with a bloody elbow, his walker beside him, and an alcoholic beverage.
The officer tried asking the subject if he was all right but was unable to understand what he was saying. The officer was handed the subject’s ID, and the subject came back as being from Columbia. EMS checked out and took care of the abrasion on his elbow. The subject was then charged with open container and disorderly conduct assault and battery due to him throwing an empty bottle at another officer, and then was transported to jail without any incident and booked.
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