Two more Bluffton teens have been arrested in connection with a string of car thefts in southern Beaufort County.
Kevin Alvarez, 17, of Bluffton was arrested Monday night and charged with 18 counts of grand larceny for his alleged role in 18 car thefts within the past month, according to authorities.
Alvarez, Demetrius Arroyo, 19, and an unnamed juvenile have admitted to stealing the vehicles, most of which had been left unlocked or with the keys nearby, said Lt. Joe Babkiewicz, spokesman for the Bluffton Police Department.
"Both Alvarez and Arroyo informed us that they went through unlocked cars and found car keys in the vehicles," Babkiewicz said. "They would then take these cars around to other places or just take the car out for a joyride. The three have all admitted their involvement in the incident and have not indicated that others were involved."
The juvenile suspect was arrested Tuesday and faces the same charges, Babkiewicz said.
Arroyo was charged Thursday and remains in the Beaufort County Detention Center, according to the jail log.
Many of the vehicles were stolen from gated communities, including Rose Hill, Moss Creek and Berkeley Hall. Authorities suspect the teens entered on foot through nearby neighborhoods.
Of the 18 vehicles stolen since May 21, all but one has been recovered, Babkiewicz said. The teens are believed to be linked to its disappearance, according to authorities.
Some of the cars were ditched in ponds, including two vehicles reported stolen last week from The Haven and Parkside at Baynard Park that were fished from a pond Friday at the Wellstone of Bluffton development.
Other vehicles were found badly damaged and missing hundreds of dollars worth of items, including sports equipment, car accessories, wallets and bicycles strapped to the back, according to Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and Bluffton police reports.
Alvarez is being held in the county jail without bond, according to the jail log.
If convicted, the teens could face five to 10 years on each count of grand larceny, according to state law.