Man charged with offenses involving minor
In August 2016, a concerned parent of an underage girl from Bluffton reported found multiple sexually explicit chats through social media apps on her mobile telephone, according to a Beaufort Count Sheriff’s Office report.
Investigators met with the girl and learned she had been chatting with a man over a period of a week and had also met him on one occasion and engaged in sexual activity.
The girl’s telephone was seized and submitted to the Sheriff’s Office Computer Crimes Unit for analysis by investigators.
In addition, investigators subpoenaed records from the social media sites to assist in identifying the man involved in the chats and sexual activity with the girl.
Over the next few months investigators compiled information received from the Computer Crimes Unit, social media sites and follow-up interviews with the girl.
The information led them to Justin Watts, 37, of Savannah.
Warrants were issued for the arrest of Watts, who has been charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree and criminal solicitation of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor in the first degree. Watts was then listed in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as a wanted person.
Sheriff’s office investigators met with investigators from the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department (SCMPD) and advised them of the active arrest warrants on Watts.
With information on the case provided by sheriff’s office investigators, SCMPD investigators were able to obtain a warrant for the St. George Boulevard, Savannah, residence of Watts to search for electronic devices.
Watts was taken into custody during the search. According to the report, investigators also took a mobile telephone, three laptops and various electronic storage devices belonging to Watts.
He has been extradited to Beaufort County.
Police seek person who stole spiral staircase
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a case where a person stole a spiral staircase on Lady’s Island.
According to a sheriff’s office report, the person was caught on video camera stealing the staircase sometime between Dec. 27 and Dec. 30.
The suspect appears to be tall man using a cane with his left hand.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Investigator Disbrow at 843-255-3407 or Beaufort County Dispatch at 843-524-2777.
Two people sought in shoplifting case
A woman and a man are being sought by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office who stole $391 worth of goods from the North Face store at 1414 Fording Island Road in Bluffton.
According to a sheriff’s office report, the woman was seen on video surveillance putting the merchandise in a bag she was carrying, while the man stuffed clothing in his backpack.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Lt. Cpl. Williamson at 843-255-3308 or Beaufort County Dispatch at 843-524-2777.
2016 statistics show rise in emergencies
Analysis of the 2016 Burton Fire District reports show that Burton fire officials can expect a challenging year in 2017 as the district experienced an increase in emergency responses from 2015 to 2016.
In 2016, Burton firefighters responded to 3,252 emergency calls, which was an increase from 2,988 emergencies calls in 2015.
Emergency medical incidents accounted for 2,112 calls. Of those emergency medical calls, 27 were for persons in cardiac arrest, and 30 were for persons suffering a possible stroke. In comparison, during 2015 Burton firefighters assisted 16 persons in cardiac arrest and 26 persons suffering a possible stroke.
The American Heart Association states that early CPR and defibrillation can double a person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest, and early access to advanced life support are the keys to survival.
The Burton Fire District is the only Beaufort County fire department north of the Broad River that provides paramedic advanced life support services and requires all firefighters to be nationally certified emergency medical technicians.
The Burton Fire District also responded to 163 calls for fires, a slight decrease from 171 fire calls in 2015 and 31 emergency calls for building fires in 2016 which is a decrease from 47 in 2015.
Burton fire officials credit their department’s fire prevention efforts for the reduction in these fire calls.
Burton fire crews also responded to 293 motor vehicles accidents. While this was a minor increase from 284 in 2015, Burton fire officials state the increase in fatalities, severity of injuries and trapped occupants were more severe in 2016.
There was also a significant increase in motor vehicle accidents on Robert Smalls Parkway with 53 in 2015 increasing to 70 in 2016.