A Myrtle Beach thief that had hit a string of bars and restaurants, breaking into safes and stealing cash, was foiled by a stuffed bear that was carrying a little something extra, like an Apple AirTag. The staff of the Sneaky Beagle, one of the bars that had been burgled multiple times, set up a sting that involved a stuffed bear that had an AirTag secreted inside of it.
As reported by WMBF News, the Sneaky Beagle employees opened up a stuffed animal, inserted an AirTag, and then placed the now trackable combo into a decoy safe.
Some staff members tell WMBF News they heard about the other break-ins, but never thought they’d see one of their own.
Kitchen Manager, Thomas Erskine told WMBF News, Smith broke into their business three times.
“A window was broken or something was moved on the floor. I kinda knew something was wrong. As soon as I saw that I let the owner know and we were able to get it figured out throughout that,” he said.
It was after the second time, he said, staff crafted a clever plan to stop the burglaries.
“I think one of the guests that came in had ended up leaving a stuffed animal and we ended up putting an AirTag inside of the stuffed animal,” said Erskine. “We had two safes at that point, the dummy safe and our actual safe.”
The thief, 52-year-old Samuel Smith, took the bait and stole the safe. The tracking device later pinged at Smith’s home 30 minutes after the burglary and later helped authorities connect him to other burglaries in the area. Smith was arrested and charged with nine counts of second-degree burglary.
Smith is now facing nine counts of second-degree burglary of nine restaurants over a four-month period. His arrest comes in the wake of a wave of recent break-ins at bars like Handley’s, Doyle’s Pub & Grub, the Old Bull & Bush Pub and Eatery, and the Sneaky Beagle.
Smith is currently being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center under no bond.