‘You feel violated:’ Florence bike shop owner said store has been a target of thieves

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FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Investigators with the Florence County Sheriffs Office are looking for three men who reportedly drove a stolen truck into the front of Generation 3 Powersports on West Palmetto Street and tried to steal three motorcycles, according to Chief Kirby with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and surveillance video from the store.

At approximately 6:00 am FCSO deputies responded to a call at the location and found that suspects had entered the building by driving a stolen vehicle through the front entrance. Suspects were seen by deputies pushing motorcycles and fled on foot into a nearby wooded area. They three bikes have been recovered. A brief manhunt was not successful in locating the suspects.

Don Miller, the store’s owner, provided surveillance video showing the truck smashing into the front of the store, and the suspects running out with three motorcycles.

Miller said around 5:30 am security central alerted him and he rushed to the store.

When he arrived, there was shattered glass all over and a truck the suspects used to break in.

Miller said although the bikes have been recovered, the damages from the break-in are close to $10,000.

“One of the bikes out here, a fellow named Tom Kip, he won the AMA Championship with it one year and it’s a pretty valuable bike to me,” Miller said. “I just not long in the last six months took it out and brought it up here and it was sitting on the floor and it got damaged in the break-in.”

Generation 3 Powersports has only been at the location on West Palmetto Street for three years.

During its short time here, Miller admitted the store has been a hot target for thieves. Last year in August, someone drove through the back door of the store and stole two dirt bikes.

“About once a year you get a major break-in,” he said. “A couple times this year already people have tried to cut the fence and caught by the alarm so luckily that deterred theft. A lot of time they don’t get much of anything, but occasionally they do.”

Despite the many attempts to steal his equipment, one thing criminals won’t get away with is Miller’s perseverance.

“You feel violated, you want to give up sometimes, but you know this is not the first time I’ve got broken into, so you keep going, keep trying,” Miller saidFl.

The Sheriff’s Office has taken the stolen vehicle back to a lab for analysis. The case is still under investigation. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact FCSO Investigators at (843)665-2121, ext. 464 or Crime Stoppers of the Pee Dee at 1-888-CRIME-SC it text tip on the free FCSO app for IPhone and Android. You do not have to reveal your identity to leave information.

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