UPDATE: Search is on for man who broke into 4 homes, 12 cars in Aiken

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Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- Public Safety officers in Aiken are still searching for a man they are considering armed and dangerous after he broke into four homes and 12 vehicles overnight.

The search began around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday after officers responded to a home on the 300 block of Newberry Street SW. A male suspect reportedly ran away from the scene.

Another call came in shortly after from the 200 block of Lancaster Street SW from a resident who said someone was inside their home. The caller described the person as a man wearing dark clothing. The man ran away from the scene.

The man took a handgun from one of the homes that was broken into.

The initial search of the area has been called off, but Public Safety officers will continue extra patrols in the area.

"I just wondered what was going on," said Tonya Pemberton, who dropped her daughters off at school around 8 a.m. just a few feet away from dozens of police cars. "The closer I got to the school, I saw more police officers out.

A SLED helicopter, dog team and dozens of Public Safety officers spent the morning searching for the burglary suspect after four homes were broken into with people inside.

"It's pretty brave to go into someone's house," said Cpl. Jeremy Hembree with the Aiken Department of Public Safety. "We're urging for the residents to use caution."

Investigators say the suspect entered the homes through portions of the homes that were not secured.

The break-ins happened on Newberry Street, but Public Safety concentrated its search along Hayne Avenue in the Highland Park and Kalmia Hills neighborhoods.

Police cars with their lights on drove up and down streets throughout the area all morning long, giving neighbors a little something to be concerned about.

"It gives you cause for pause and makes you wonder what's gonna happen," said neighbor Tom Cofer.

But all the activity brought him a little excitement as well.

"I was excited; I started to get myself armed and dangerous and get out here to help, but better judgment set in," he said.

He says things like this don't normally happen where he lives.

"That's the most excitement we've had in this neighborhood in quite some time," Cofer said.

For both Cofer and Pemberton, the concern isn't very high, thanks to their trust in Aiken's law enforcement.

"They are well trained and they have the proper equipment to do this sort of thing and that's reassuring," Cofer said.

None of the break-ins were forceful and no one was injured. Public Safety is urging neighbors to keep an eye out and report any suspicious activity. Also remember to look your cars, take valuables inside or hide them out of plain sight. Click here for more tips.

If you have any information, call Crimestoppers of the Midlands at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6373). Callers will remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

Initial report:

AIKEN, S.C. -- News 12 has learned that Aiken Public Safety officers are looking for a home invasion suspect following reports of multiple homes being broken into.

The call came in around 3 a.m. They have since set up a manning station.

Officers are searching a 3-mile radius near Newberry Street.

The dog team has been called out and a helicopter is searching for the suspect.

We're told one of the homes that was broken into is missing a firearm and the suspect is considered to be armed and dangerous.

Stay with News 12 for the latest developments.

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