Upstate law enforcement say trailer thefts are becoming a big problem! In spartanburg county alone last year more than 700 were taken. We checked with other local counties like Greenville and Anderson. They also see hundreds stolen every year.
But even when deputies find that property, there’s virtually no way to track down owner. That’s because the law doesn’t require registration.
Investigators we talked to are hoping 2016 is the year that will change.
All Jeff Stallings has to show for his $15,000 dollar trailer are the drag marks thieves left when they hauled it away last week.
“You don’t expect a trailer to be stolen, at least I didn’t. Of course we’ve since found out that it’s a very common occurrence,” said Stallings, the owner of The Mobile Attic.
Stallings was shocked to learn his is one of more than 11-hundred that have been stolen in the last two years in Spartanburg county alone.
“Ours was registered but the majority of them aren’t, and so there’s this culture in SC that it’s really easy to steal trailers because you’re just not going to get caught most likely,” said Stallings.
Sgt. Henry Beck with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office showed us more than a dozen sitting at the pound. The problem, he says, Carolina law requires no registration for most trailers, unless they’re commercial or campers.
“Because of the lack of a trailer registration law, citizens in our state are losing property that can never be recovered. And they’re also purchasing stolen property that are being brought in from other states,” said Sgt. Beck.
NC and Georgia both require trailer registration, as do most states in the nation. Two bills up for debate next year could change South Carolina law. State Representative Rita Allison says it’s too early to state her opinion, but she’s heard those opposed don’t want to the tax.
We asked her: “Do you think that the people who don’t support the registration don’t realize that it may help them in the end if their trailer goes missing.”
She said: “Well I think that this is something that as we have the debate will come out, But I can understand how it really puts a burden on law enforcement.”
Until a law is passes, one way to protect yourself is to write down and store the Vehicle Identification number. Also put a special marking on your trailer so that if it is stolen, you can put that on the Police report.
If anything, Stallings wants you to know right now, trailers are an easy target in South Carolina.
“If I can help somebody else from getting their trailer stolen, than that at least makes me feel a little bit better about their situation,” he said.