Folly Beach police officer’s gun missing after she allows homeless friend to sleep over

A Folly Beach police officer’s service pistol is missing after she let a homeless friend stay at her Summerville house when he got out of drug rehab, authorities said.

Officer Tiffany Britton, 26, reported the theft to the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office Sunday afternoon. She told deputies that when she went to clean the gun, she discovered that her belt and the .40-caliber pistol had been stolen, according to a police report.

Britton told deputies that she had allowed a long-time friend who is homeless to stay the night at her Judith Drive home Wednesday because he was hungry and had just completed drug treatment, the report stated. When she woke up, he was gone.

On Sunday she realized her duty belt was missing as well. The belt had handcuffs, pepper spray, an asp baton, ammunition and her firearm, deputies said.

Britton contacted Berkeley County deputies after learning that her homeless friend had visited his mother’s Ladson home Thursday, a police report stated. The man’s mother said he is not welcome at her home because of his drug problem, and she asked him to leave, the report stated.

After he was gone, the mother found Britton’s police duty belt in a basket of laundry, Berkeley deputies said. The gun and the ammunition weren’t there, authorities said.

Dorchester County investigators spoke with Britton’s homeless friend on Sunday, but they do not yet have probable cause for an arrest, Lt. Tony Phinney said. Britton’s firearm remains missing, he said.

Folly Beach Public Safety Director Dennis Brown said the missing gun “is obviously a substantial concern to me. We are working as hard as we can to supplement every effort Dorchester is making to retrieve that gun.”

Brown said his officers also are conducting an internal-affairs review to determine if any departmental policies and procedures were violated in the incident. He would not comment on whether any disciplinary action has been taken against Britton.

Britton began her law enforcement career at the Hanahan Police Department in May 2008 and worked there for three years, state records show. She has worked for the Folly Beach Public Safety Department since May 27, Brown said.

Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.

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