Bowman, SC (WLTX) -- It's an issue residents in Bowman say they've been dealing with for months: items being stolen off their property.
And they say they aren't getting help from the town.
"I've been living in the same house for 69 years," said Raysor Griffith.
Griffith has seen it all in the small town of Bowman, from the construction of the UFO Welcome Center to a fire at a local grocery store. Now, it's a string of thefts.
"I've had two or three weed eaters stolen and a chain saw," said Griffith.
And he isn't the only one.
"Lanterns, which aren't a big deal. Then in June, our lawn mower was stolen. Then we've just noticed something as simple as an extension cord was stolen," said Sandy Stafford.
To stop more theft from happening, Stafford has chained down her belongings to the porch.
"We have alarms, lasers going different directions of the house, so if they cross that beam, they set an alarm in the house," said Stafford.
Since installing the system about a month ago, Stafford said the alarms have gone off about five times around 2am. Three of those times happened in one week.
"I go out the front, my husband goes out the back. We're ready for whatever we need to do," she said.
Another Bowman resident, who did not want to go on camera, provided a surveillance video, which shows a man trying to pick up a potted plant from her porch.
Residents expressed their concern over the incidents at a recent council meeting. According to minutes, one woman said she can no longer sleep in her bed because of an attempted break-in. She now sleeps "on a chair because she is so afraid that they may come back."
The residents said the biggest problem is the police presence, especially at night. But according to Mayor Pro Tem, Patsy Rhett, "we do have night service, even with our two-man police force. They're able to cover the town, day and night."
Rhett said some thefts occurred when the police chief was out for a family emergency, but they have since addressed the situation.
"I talked with the chief. They've worked out their hours, and hopefully we are giving the town the protection that they need. We know that you cannot stop all crime, but we are doing the best we can to stop the crime," said Rhett.
Bowman officials said they don't have any suspects for these thefts around town.
There was talk of a community forum at the council meeting to discuss the issues, but that hasn't happened yet. Rhett said that will happen in the new year.
If residents notice any thefts, they should call the Bowman Police, the Mayor, or the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department.
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