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South Congaree PD goes fishing, catches Virginia fugitive, nets car stolen in 2014

South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) – South Congaree Police Officer Stone was working a quiet afternoon in town Saturday. He was parked in the middle of Main Street near the Meat Market, and would randomly run a few tags on his in-car computer when folks stopped as the light there turned red. He had been doing this awhile, a little fishing for someone who’s on the naughty list if you will, when suddenly he got a “big bite!” One tag he ran came back indicating the car was stolen out of Virginia and the driver was wanted by authorities there.

Officer Stone pulled into traffic in his un-marked cruiser and watched as the car, with a white female behind the wheel, pulled in the Food Lion parking lot. He stealthily pulled off Main Street himself and parked some distance away, so the driver wouldn’t notice him. Then, he asked for a back-up officer from the surrounding communities as he watched the woman get out the car and go in the store.

Officers quickly arrived from the neighboring towns of Pine Ridge and Springdale, and an officer even responded who was working in Swansea. Stone directed each of them to take a position out of sight at locations that were un-noticeable, but where they could quickly pounce when it was time to spring Stone’s well-laid trap. One officer hid in the parking lot of a neighboring convenience store across the street, and the Springdale marked cruiser was hidden behind the grocery store, out of sight, but ready to surround the suspect’s car right on cue. All this was going on while the suspect casually did her shopping in the Food Lion.

The officers worked together, each watching the parked car from their hiding spot. When a van pulled in and blocked Stone’s view, the Pine Ridge officer was able to see from his hiding spot. All knew that eventually the fugitive shopper would have to return to her parked, stolen car.

Eventually, what the officers were waiting for occurred. The woman came out of the store pushing her buggy filled with items, and began loading them in the car. The officers knew that they had to wait until just the right time, or the woman might take off on foot or maybe draw a gun or do something else that would endanger others in the lot that were oblivious to what was about to go down. They also knew that if they waited too long, the suspect might pull out of her parking spot and a dangerous car chase could ensue; no, the timing had to be just right.

When the woman finally loaded her groceries, and got in the car, Stone gave the go and sprung his trap. All four cruisers immediately rushed in, and before the woman knew what was happening, she was surrounded on all sides by the police cars! Once she realized she was caught, she quietly gave up.

Dispatchers notified officials in Virginia who quickly confirmed that the woman was wanted in that state. More importantly, she had what is known as full extradition, a term that means that the Virginia law enforcement officers would pay to come and get her and return her to that state for prosecution.

In 2014, Mary Cameron, a now 60-year-old white female, rented a car in Virginia, and never returned it. She took the stolen car, moved with it to South Carolina, where she had been living in Gaston since that time. She was driving the car around just as if she had bought it like the rest of us have to. She’d still be driving around with it today if not for the great police work of a hardworking South Congaree police officer, and the other officers who helped to reel in the fugitive catch.

Cameron has now been booked into the Lexington County Detention Center where she is awaiting the extradition order from Virginia to arrive. Hopefully, she will enjoy a Merry Christmas with all the other folks who are on Santa’s naughty list up there on Gibson Road.

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Call Paul Kirby

(803) 587-3144