License tag alert leads to stolen truck, arrest
It was about 10:15 p.m. when the Automated License Plate Recognition system alerted a North Charleston police officer that a black Ford F-150 pickup truck with Michigan tags was stolen.
North Charleston is one of several local law enforcement agencies using cruisers equipped with ALPR systems, with which car-mounted cameras take photos of license plates and run them through a database of stolen or wanted vehicles maintained by the State Law Enforcement Division.
The truck was parked in a lot outside an apartment building on O'Hear Avenue on Saturday night, according to an incident report.
Police parked across the street from the stolen truck and waited to see if someone would come to claim it. A records check confirmed it was stolen. The theft had been reported in North Charleston in May.
After about 90 minutes went by with no one approaching the pickup, police decided to tow it away.
While the truck was being towed, dispatchers got an anonymous tip that the driver of the pickup truck was at one of the apartments in the building on O'Hear Avenue. The tipster gave a description of the driver.
Police knocked on the door of the apartment and spoke with a man matching that description. At first, the man said he'd been given a ride to the apartment by someone else, but he later said he had driven the pickup truck, the report said. When the man showed officers the keys to the truck, he was arrested.
As he was being taken to jail, the man told police he had purchased the truck from another man in May for $2,000, the report said. He also said he might have thrown the vehicle's title away accidentally, the report said.
Melvin Summers, 47, of St. Ives Road in North Charleston is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle. He was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond set Monday by Charleston County Magistrate Linda S. Lombard.