Loris residents killed in accident

Two Loris residents died in a single-vehicle accident on Highway 66 in Loris Saturday morning.

Tanasha L. Farris, 31, was pronounced dead on the scene. She was the driver of the vehicle.

Keith Cox, 29, was flown to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center where he died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. He was the passenger of the vehicle.

The S.C. Highway Patrol also investigated the accident.

Horry County man charged with

child sexual abuse material charges

Theodore Woolings Bye III, 35, of Myrtle Beach has been charged with 26 counts connected to the sexual exploitation of minors, according to information provided by the S.C. Attorney General’s Office.

Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force investigators with the Horry County Sheriff's Office made the arrest. Investigators with the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), both also members of the state's ICAC Task Force, and the Myrtle Beach Police Department, assisted with this case.

Investigators say Bye encouraged a minor victim to produce and send sexually explicit images and possessed multiple files of child sexual abuse material.

Bye was taken into custody Sept. 17. He is charged with 13 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, first degree, a felony offense punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment; and 13 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, third degree, a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment on each count.

This case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office.

Attorney General Alan Wilson stressed all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

Longs man sentenced to 15 years in jail.

A Longs man pleaded guilty Friday to charges that stemmed from two 2017 burglaries in the Loris area.

Maurice Leney Bellamy, 33, of Longs pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree burglary and one count of kidnapping before Circuit Judge William H. Seals Jr., according to Nancy Livesay, the violent crimes assistant solicitor who prosecuted the case for the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Bellamy was sentenced to 10 years for one burglary charge and five years for another burglary charge with those sentences to run consecutively. He was sentenced to two years for the kidnapping charge, which will run concurrently to the burglary charges.

The charges stemmed from November and December 2017 and involved two homes being burglarized in the Loris area.

N.C. man sentenced to 10 years on crack charges

A North Carolina man pleaded guilty this past week to his second-offense crack cocaine charge and was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison, according to the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Nickolas Wayne Smith, 28, of Bolton, N.C., pleaded guilty Monday to second-offense possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine before Circuit Judge Benjamin H. Culbertson, who sentenced Smith to 10 years in prison, according to Ryan M. Waller, the assistant solicitor who prosecuted the case for the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

“Special thanks goes to the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit for their diligent and tireless work in making this case, and bringing this defendant to justice,” Waller said.

Myrtle Beach man faces six charges of child sexual abuse material charges 

A Myrtle Beach man has been charged with six counts of child sexual abuse material, according to information provided by the S.C. Attorney General’s Office.

Randy Michael Faulkner, 62, faces six charges connected to the sexual exploitation of minors. Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force investigators with the Horry County Sheriff's Office made the arrest. Investigators with the S.C. Attorney General's Office, also a member of the state's ICAC Task Force, assisted with the investigation.

Investigators received a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that led them to Faulkner. Investigators say Faulkner distributed files of child sexual abuse material.

Faulkner was taken in Sept. 15. He is charged with six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, second degree, a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment on each count.

This case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office.

Attorney General Alan Wilson stressed all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

Vehicle crimes

■ There were eight reports of thefts from motor vehicles in Conway, and one in the Conway section of Horry County this past week.

There were two on Ivy Lea Road, six on Tiger Grand Drive, four at Aspen Heights on U.S. 501 and one on Bellamy Drive. The incident in the county was on Double Dee Road.

Missing items in the city included a black wallet, a jar of assorted change, a S.C. driver’s license, a school ID, two bankcards, a wallet that was found on the sidewalk, some loose change, a pair of Beats headphones, a New Jersey gold card and a New Jersey police badge, a 9mm black Smith and Wesson gun, an Apple phone charger, one-star drill bit and three masks..

Several of the reports describe the suspects as two men: one wearing blue jeans, black shoes, black pullovers with red writing on front about 6-feet tall weighing 190 to 200 pounds and the other wearing light blue jeans with holes in front and a white t-shirt.

On Double Dee Road in the Aynor section, someone took a motorcycle. The report says he might have been going to his sister’s house in Aynor. The officer went there, but didn’t find the motorcycle.

■ James Ryan Oettinger, 31, was charged with simple possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, seven counts of breaking into a motor vehicle and one count of financial transaction card theft. One of the break-ins Oettinger was charged with happened on Ivy Lea and the rest were all on Tiger Grand.

Police were summoned to Tiger Grand to check on a suspicious man. They learned when they arrived that there had been multiple break-ins throughout that neighborhood, according to Conway police reports. Police found a black Eastport backpack and Playmate cooler near an electric box on Ivy Lea Drive. A large extension cord was also found in the yard. A Motorola radio was found inside the backpack with a handheld microphone that belonged to a City of Conway vehicle. The vehicle was found on Tiger Grand Drive. Multiple other things belonging to the victim were found in abandoned bags. The items were returned to the city employee.

■ Still another police report said a video surveillance on Sunday at about 1 a.m. showed the suspect entering a vehicle. Three minutes later, the suspect got out of the truck and disappeared, according to a Conway police report. The victim said his wife saw a post from her next door neighbor saying he went out to walk his dog at 5 a.m. Sunday when he saw someone near the pond with a flashlight. He was wearing dark clothing and had a back bag and a lot of “stuff.” When the suspect “took off”, he left some stuff behind, so the neighbor called police and reported it. The police report says when the suspect was taken into custody he had three things that belonged to the complainant.

■ Still another report says a police officer found the suspect lying in the bushes in front of the neighborhood. A Coastal Carolina facemask that had been left in a car was found in the suspect’s possession. The police report says the suspect also had a green leafy substance and a used syringe. He was taken to jail.

Police also recovered a checkbook and a Mastercard.

■ Conway police went to Dunn Shortcut Road near Warm Springs Road Monday at 6:30 a.m. where they found a vehicle in a ditch and the driver nowhere around, according to a Conway police report.

The officer had the vehicle towed, and the tow company called the owner to let her know where her car was.

Police told the woman that she did not need to file an accident report because no other vehicles or property was involved. Police believe she was turning around when the vehicle went into the ditch.

■ When Conway police were called to Lowe’s Home Improvement on U.S. 501, they found a woman who said she gave a ride to the store to an acquaintance, also a Myrtle Beach woman.

The victim said the two went inside the store and collected several items. The victim said while she was at the check-out counter, the suspect came to her demanding her keys before taking them from her, according to the Conway police report.

The woman says she finished her checkout and went outside where she found the suspect loading items into her car. When the victim confronted the suspect asking for her car keys, the suspect got into the car and tried to drive away.

Two witnesses came out of the store to prevent the theft of the store’s items and to see what was happening.

They restrained the victim and pulled her off of her car, according to the police report.

The suspect then fled. While she was at the traffic light at Century Circle and U.S. 501, she hit still another victim’s vehicle before trying to back away and hitting still another vehicle before continuing to flee, according to the police report.

Another officer found the vehicle moments later on University Forest Circle and stopped it. The police report says the officer determined that the driver was the same person, and she was in the same vehicle that police were looking for. She was taken to jail.

Police say the stolen merchandise found inside the vehicle was recovered and turned over to Lowe’s employees, and the vehicle was returned to its owner.

The woman was charged with shoplifting, third or more; two counts of hit and run; use of a vehicle without permission; and driving under suspension, not for driving under the influence, second offense, according to Horry County jail records. 

Counterfeiting/forgery

A Conway man reported seven instances where his credit information had been used, according to Conway police reports.

The victim said he discovered the problem when he went to Conway National Bank to check his bank account and noticed numerous checks had been written and cashed from his account.

The report says after the victim spoke with the bankers, the suspect was positively identified as someone who had done work around the victim’s house and yard. He told police the suspect had initially gained access to the checks because he had allowed him into his house on numerous occasions.

He said he didn’t realize that the checks were missing from his checkbook until he went to the bank and the forged checks were on his bank statements. The first check was written and cashed Sept. 12. After that there were four more for a total of $7,390.

Drug/alcohol incidents

■ An Horry County police officer responded Monday at about 8:30 p.m. to a call for service regarding an intentional hit and run, according to an Horry County police report.

As the suspect left the scene on Missouria Lane in the Conway section of Horry County, he wrecked his car in a ditch on the side of S.C. 905. The police officer says S.C. Highway Patrol troopers were already on the scene on S.C. 905 when he arrived.

The suspect was removed from his vehicle and detained by troopers. The victim told police that he was following his cousin as they drove along S.C. 905 when the suspect’s vehicle swerved into their lane, striking his cousin’s vehicle.

The victim said the suspect left the scene and fled onto Missouria Lane. The victim followed him and cornered him on Missouria Lane. He got out of his vehicle and approached the suspect asking for insurance information. The suspect backed up and headed down Missouria Lane before arriving at a dead end. The report says the suspect turned around.

The victim said he got out of his vehicle and was standing in the middle of the road when the suspect came back forcing him to jump onto the hood of his truck to avoid being hit.

The victim said the suspect drove past him, scraping the side of the vehicle as he passed.

The report says the suspect was found to be extremely intoxicated. Highway patrol troopers took over the investigation, according to the police report.

Charges for assault will not be pursued.

■ Two men in the Longs section of Horry County told police that they were outside in front of a residence putting water into a vehicle’s radiator when a suspect came up and “started running his mouth,” according to an Horry County police report.

The duo said they didn’t say anything to the man because he appeared to be intoxicated. The report says the men told the policeman the suspect looked at them and said, “Give me 60 seconds,” before heading to his vehicle, grabbing a handgun and pointing it at them. Before heading into his residence he reportedly asked, “Do you wanna die tonight?”

The suspect told the police officer that he didn’t even own a handgun, except for a BB gun and that the neighbors were felons and drug addicts. He went so far as to call the captain of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office to prove that he was a good person, the report says.

The suspect also told police that there was more than one eyewitness. He also said they were all crazy and he never had a gun.

The two victims said the suspect was a “drunk old man” and they didn’t want to get him into any trouble and they didn’t want to be bothered with going to court.

The case was closed.

■ A Galivants Ferry man was charged with public drunkenness after Horry County police were called to a “physical family disturbance.”

According to an Horry County police report, the argument started because the suspect talked to the victim about paying a bill. The victim said he had an injury, but he did not want to pursue charges. The police officer found the suspect walking on Hwy 129 while intoxicated. Because he was walking in the street while intoxicated, he was taken to the Horry County jail.

■ A woman in the Loris section of Horry County called police saying someone was banging on her door, according to an Horry County police report. As police traveled to the scene, the woman called to say she had been sexually assaulted about an hour earlier.

The owner of the home identified the woman for police, and knew where she was. She told police four men wearing masks had jumped her. She was taken somewhere that was redacted from the report where she spoke with the staff.

Her story there didn’t include any talk of a sexual assault, just an assault. She also told the hospital staff that someone hit her in the head and knocked her out. The report says this incident happened about six hours earlier. Police say the woman had a strong smell of alcohol and admitted to drinking Fireball, along with taking her medications.

The report says the woman’s story keeps changing, and because they believed she was intoxicated police wrote the report as an assault.

Wants more money

An Horry County police report says a man went to the home of a man who had bought a television from him for $20. According to the Horry County police report, he wanted more money for the television.

As he was leaving the property, he said he would come back with an AK47. He came back a short time later without a gun, but he had two small concrete blocks that he threw through the window of a tow truck. The truck’s owner identified the suspect and police planned to seek a warrant for him.

Burglary and attempted burglary

Conway police went to JP Liquor on Wright Boulevard at 2:30 a.m. Saturday where an alarm was sounding, according to a Conway police report.

Police say they found a window at the store broken and glass was on the ground and inside the store.

The main door appeared to be damaged with its glass broken as well.

He police report says someone had pulled the meter box from the side of the store and tried to get into the building by throwing a cement brick at the windows, but was unable to get in and nothing appeared to be missing.

The store’s owner came to the scene and retrieved a video that showed a man wearing a light colored Polo shirt, red basketball shorts and black shoes trying to get into the business.

The report says the video showed the man grab a light-colored cement brick and throw it into the store. Then he tried to pull away glass from the area where it was broken, but he wasn’t able to get in. He ran toward Grainger Road when the alarm sounded. Police were able to lift three sets of fingerprints.

Damage was estimated at about $6,000. Additional police went to the area and found the man on Gladys Lane where he denied having any involvement in the incident, but after more investigation police decided that he was the individual in the surveillance video.

Police then found that he had an active warrant with Conway police for burglary. He was taken to jail on charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree burglary and malicious injury to property. Bond was set at $32,125, and he remained in jail Monday.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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