Orangeburg Dept. of Public Safety creates task force to cease carjackings

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) —

Recent carjackings in the Orangeburg area have resulted in the creation of a new task force the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety says will help keep the community safer.

The new task force will be called PAC or pursuit, arrest, and convict.

Orangeburg’s Chief of Police Charles Austin says the need for the task force came about after five attempted carjackings happened in the past two months, with three of those five vehicles stolen.

“We’re very concerned about the incidents that have taken place. Especially since the suspects have demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of our citizens and pose what I believe to be a major public threat to our community. Therefore, we will spare no expense to pursue, arrest, and convict all the suspects involved in these crimes,” says Chief Austin.

The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety also reports that one person was shot as he attempted to drive away from the carjackers. According to Chief Austin, the victim has fully recovered.

He also says while there are leads regarding the incidents, the exact number of people involved in the crimes remain unknown.

“We have not been able to identify a number yet. But I will say this much. They are acting like a gang, we’re going to treat them like a gang,” Chief Austin says.

The task force is made up of law enforcement from the surrounding state and local levels including the Orangeburg and Berkeley County Sheriff’s Offices, and nearby police departments in towns like Bowman, Santee, and Norway.

Norway’s Chief of Police Edgar Williams sees being a part of the task force as a way to help catch the carjackers, and prevent the incidents from happening in Norway.

“If it’s occurring in other jurisdictions and counties, it’ll probably matriculate in our jurisdiction. It’s just a matter of time. So we want to try to prevent that from happening,” Chief Williams says.

According to Chief Austin, to help prevent being involved in a carjacking attempt, have your keys ready, enter your vehicle as quickly as possible, lock your doors, and always be aware of your surroundings — including when stopped at red lights.

“Your life is more important than a vehicle,” says Chief Austin.

At this time, no arrests have been made.

Categories: Orangeburg