Police offer property list to help track stolen items

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By Brian Slattery

The best defense against breaking and entering is a locked door.

But with larcenies from locked and unlocked homes continually reported, the Holden Beach Police Department has a backup plan.

The department will provide residents with a property registration form to list any items a thief might target.

It’s a proactive measure to improve chances of recovering stolen items.

The department started providing property registration forms about 18 months ago, Sgt. Frank Dilworth said.

Dilworth said there are about 1,000 full-time residents in Holden Beach. He estimates less than 1 percent have taken advantage of the service, but he has a folder of about 50 forms from residents who like knowing authorities have information to pursue stolen valuables.

The form includes name and contact information and space to list valuables in specific categories including appliances, fishing equipment, types of firearms, power tools, portable electronic devices, televisions and computer equipment.

The department asks the registered items have a minimum value of $100 and a serial number or owner-applied unique number.

The department will take a partial list if residents want to keep knowledge of their possessions to themselves, but Dilworth recommends filling out a form and keeping it local.

“Even if they do not give them to (the police department), fill it out, give it to a neighbor or family member where you’ll have easy access to it,” Dilworth said.

Providing police with a list of items that could be targeted by thieves is especially useful for homes of part-time residents.

“We’d love to see more of a response. Especially from the folks who don’t live here,” Dilworth said. “We will have homeowners who will not have been in the house in three months when they come back for Easter.”

With a serial number, police can enter a stolen item into a national crime database and access a computer program connected to a national pawnshop network.

“If it’s pawned, we can find it,” Dilworth said. “And it gives us a better chance to find who took it.”

Dilworth said there are a number of services residents can use offered by the police department—at the office or online.

Residents can report lost and found property, request records or motor vehicle information and sign up for the Keep Check service.

Keep Check puts a residence on a list of locations patrol officers will keep an eye on.

“Keep check is pretty popular too. If (a resident) goes out of town we will go by the house,” Dilworth said. “If you look at the form, we ask what types of vehicles should be there, if lights should be on and at what times and if anybody should be on the property.”

Information on services provided by the department is available on the town website, http://hbtownhall.com/newsite/police.htm, or contact the Holden Beach police department at (910) 842-6488.


Sunset Beach offering similar service

Sunset Beach Police Detective Joe Smith is developing a form that homeowners can pick up from the police department to list their items of value.

On the form, they can list make, model, description and serial numbers, Smith said.

“I also have an engraver that can be used to apply ‘owner applied numbers’ to items without serial numbers,” he said.

The forms, along with pictures (if residents wish to include them) can be filed at the Police Department and/or at home in a secure location.

“Eventually, homeowners will be able to get the forms from our website. I would say ninety-eight percent or more of all items that are reported stolen have no serial numbers recorded and many times, victims are not even sure of make, model or description of the items that are lost,” Smith said.

“Even if homeowners are hesitant to file such lists with their local Law Enforcement, they should be urged to keep this information on file at home in a secure location.” 


Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.