Two Sumter teens, two Camden men charged for vehicle break-ins

Linked to similar incidents in Idlewild, Wren Street area off Alice Drive

From left: Austin Higgins, Mikkel Bush, Nickolas Smith, Blake Drown.
From left: Austin Higgins, Mikkel Bush, Nickolas Smith, Blake Drown.

A phone call on Tuesday morning reporting a suspicious vehicle led to the arrest of two Sumter and two Camden men, including two teens, suspected of breaking into vehicles in the Idlewild subdivision of Sumter, officials said.

Sumter police were called to the area about 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 13 after two men were reportedly seen getting out of a silver Chrysler 300 that was seen driving slowly through Idlewild, according to Tonyia McGirt, public information officer for the Sumter Police Department.

The reports indicated the men appeared to be checking vehicle door handles.

Officers stopped a vehicle matching the description on Springdale Drive off Loring Mill Road where the subdivision is located. Several book bags were in clear view in the back seat, according to agency information. When the four occupants were asked to exit the vehicle, officers also discovered two handguns.

Four men were taken into custody and booked at Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center:

• Austin Cole Higgins, 23, of Camden;

• Blake Alexander Drown, 17, of Sumter;

• Mikkel Demond Bush, 23, of Camden; and

• Nickolas Francis Smith, 17, of Sumter.

Each suspect was charged with 15 counts of breaking and entering auto and unlawful carrying of a pistol. Drown and Smith were also charged with possession of a pistol under the age of 18.

Police have linked the suspects, who all have previous arrests including breaking and entering auto, to unlocked vehicles that were entered in the Idlewild area and Wren Street off Alice Drive, according to the department. It is unclear how they obtained the handguns that were found.

An investigation is continuing.