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Small crimes often mask a bigger issue

Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) - On December 28th, 2019, the Town of Chapin Police Department posted a photo of a man they believed had stolen some lottery tickets from Circle K in the town. An officer took the report and someone reviewed the video surveillance from the store’s camera system. The photo was released after that. This is a petty crime, and some could easily ask, “Even in a small town, doesn’t the police have “real” crimes to work on, bigger fish to fry?” After all, the Lottery Commission simply removes those ticket’s numbers from their computer making them void; laughs on you Mr. Bad Guy!

On January 15th, 2020, officers found and served the warrant from the theft and took Earl Latron Tucker into custody. They charged him with Lottery Fraud. He probably bonded out the next day and was back at home within 24-hours, or was he? When Tucker was taken into custody, he was also charged with Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol, Possession of a Firearm by a Person Convicted of a Violent Crime and Driving Under Suspension. These are much more serious offenses than Lottery Fraud.

The point is, there’s no such thing as a crime too petty to investigate. Although Tucker’s stealing of lottery tickets really didn’t amount to much, the people of the SC Education Lottery made those useless with the few strokes on a keyboard, what was a man like Tucker doing carrying an illegal firearm? What was he planning next? No one may ever know but isn’t that frightening to you?

Chapin Police Chief Seth Zeigler and his officers know that if you ever treat a petty crime as no big deal, that crime may soon turn into a big deal. Soon, just like cancer, the crime begins to grow and spread. Eventually, if left unchecked, it can kill a community just as cancer kills a person! That’s why there really is no petty crime or tolerance for it in most every community in Lexington County.

These crimes are usually easiest solved with the help of the public via social media. Even then, people posted callous comments or made jokes about the “petty” nature of the crime committed. Others may thumb right past those pictures or videos. Is it so important to check on friends, see pictures of someone’s lunch, or who’s cheating on whom. The drama can overwhelm the internet and people never pause to see the pictures law enforcement post. It’s sad sometimes what we find important in our lives.

The next time you see one of these pictures or videos posted by a department, please stop and really look; take a close look! That man or woman that was taking small items from the dollar store, a few cans from the grocer, or even something dumb like stealing lottery tickets, may also have that gun. A few drinks, a fight breaks out, and someone is dead! Maybe the next store is robbed, and a young clerk is lying dead on the floor. You, or someone you know may be the next victim. Your help, that little tip, a few seconds out of your day, may make the difference in whether your community thrives or eventually dies. It really is that important.

Remember this number, 1-888 CRIMESC. Burn the website midlandscrimestoppers.com into your brain. Take the time, look, and make that tip. It really is important! Just ask Chief Zeigler and the men and women of the Chapin Police Department. Good going folks!

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