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Authorities identify suspect in battery thefts

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By Chris Sardelli

Investigators are searching for a North Carolina man wanted in connection to a string of larcenies across four months at Walmart in Indian Land.

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On Friday, Oct. 3, warrants were issued charging Chauncey Dekota Hardrick, 51, of Charlotte, with three counts each of malicious injury to property with enhancement and petit larceny with enhancement, according to a Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office press release.

Based on surveillance photos from outside a battery cage at the Walmart, at 10048 Charlotte Highway (U.S. 521), investigators determined Hardrick was involved in at least three separate thefts in July, September and October, the release said.

The first incident happened July 1 when Hardrick and two other people broke into the battery cage by cutting a lock and chain and removing 75 batteries, the release said.

Some time between Sept. 16 and 17, Hardrick and one other person again cut a lock and chain on the cage and this time removed 92 batteries, investigators said.

Hardrick and another person again were caught on camera on Oct. 1 breaking into the cage and taking 89 batteries.

Through the investigation, deputies found surveillance video of Hardrick at the Indian Land 7-11 prior to each larceny.

Investigators said during the first two incidents, Hardrick may have been in a white work van, while a 2014 U-Haul truck was used in the last incident.

Sheriff’s investigators have been working alongside Walmart loss prevention employees as well as Charlotte Mecklenburg police to find Hardrick and the other suspects. They are seeking help from the public in tracking them down.

Deputies are also looking into another larceny from the battery cage that was discovered on Sept. 22, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.

In that incident, employees noticed someone cut the fence on the side of the cage and removed at least 20 batteries with an estimated value of $140.

After reviewing surveillance footage, deputies noticed three people inside a white Chevrolet Astro van near the cage during that incident, the report said.

However, it is unknown if the Sept. 22 battery theft is related to the other three larcenies.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone with information about the larcenies or the whereabouts of Hardrick to call them at (803) 283-3388 or contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-Crime SC (1-888-274-6372). You can also e-mail or text your anonymous tip at www.midlandscrimestoppers.com.

 

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416