The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of two people Friday night in connection with an Aug. 5 burglary on May River Road in Bluffton.
Bluffton resident Willie Cothern Jr. was arrested on charges of burglary first degree and petit larceny for allegedly stealing jewelry and liquor from the home. His girlfriend, whom he lives with at a Smith Road residence, was arrested on charges of receiving stolen goods and obtaining property by false pretenses, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.
The arrests come after the collection of an array of evidence in the case, starting with a video that shows the suspect approaching the front door of the home at around the time the burglary took place.
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The release of that footage on Facebook and across various media outlets, including the Island Packet, led to an anonymous tip implicating Cothern, who confirmed he was at the home when interviewed by authorities about the video but denied any participation in the burglary, the report says.
This week DNA evidence collected at the scene was matched to Cothern, prompting his arrest.
His girlfriend was arrested after employees of a Bluffton pawn shop told investigators that she had pawned jewelry taken in the burglary mere hours after it happened, the release states.
The Sheriff’s Office release credits their Forensic Services Laboratory as playing a pivotal role in the arrest.
“This case illustrates the benefit of having forensic laboratory capabilities at a county level, where results of DNA analysis to assist in solving crimes,” said the release, which went on to say that a local lab return results in a few months versus a larger lab, which might take several months or even a few years to do the same work.
Cothern and his girlfriend are being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center. Neither has yet been given a bond hearing.