Beaufort News

Man suspected in Bluffton fire turns himself in


A 23-year-old Savannah man wanted in connection with a Nov. 4 fire at a Bluffton business turned himself in to police Monday morning, according to a Bluffton Police Department news release.

Joseph Samuel Clements Jr. is charged with felony burglary and arson and misdemeanor theft after a fire and break-in at Easy 2 Own Furnishings, 21 Simmonsville Road, according to the release.

Clements also is a person of interest in one of two similar incidents, including Thursday's fire at USA Rider Co., a motorcycle sales and rental business, according to Capt. Bryan Norberg, a Bluffton police spokesman. Clements awaits a bond hearing at the Beaufort County Detention Center, according to the jail log.

The fire at the motorcycle company was the third within a week intentionally set by a flaming object thrown through a window. The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office investigation into the Nov. 4 fire at Top Dollar Pawn on Kitties Landing Road is ongoing.

Anyone with information about suspicious fires in the Bluffton area is asked to call the Bluffton Police Department tip line at 843-706-4560, investigators at 843-706-4563, Beaufort County dispatch at 843-524-2777 or the SLED arson tip line at 1-800-922-7766.

Hilton Head Island neighborhoods plagued by break-ins

Several vehicles and homes were burglarized in at least four Hilton Head Island communities during the weekend, according to Beaufort County Sheriff's Office incident reports.

Overnight Friday and Saturday, electronics worth about $2,700 were stolen when two homes were broken into on Dune Lane on the island's south end. At one residence, burglars trying to get into the home caused about $1,500 in damage, according to reports.

On Dillon Road, small tools were stolen overnight Saturday when burglars smashed the windows of three cars, causing about $900 in damage, the reports said.

Nearby, at Cotton Hope Apartments on Dillon Road, at least 10 vehicles were broken into overnight Sunday, according to reports. Thieves broke the windows of seven cars, causing an average of $200 in damage to each before stealing about $500 in electronics and stereo equipment from three of the vehicles, the reports said.

In that incident, apartment residents reported seeing teenagers peering into the windows of vehicles with flashlights. No arrests have been made in connection to the break-ins, according to the reports.

Meanwhile, small electronics worth about $600 were stolen overnight Sunday when someone smashed the windows of at least two vehicles parked on Wells East Drive in the Wells East community near Spanish Wells Plantation, according to reports.

The following reports were released Monday by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office:



  • Pine Grove Road: Suspicious fire caused $2,000 in structure damage.

  • Trask Parkway: Goods worth an undetermined amount stolen. Damage: $300.

  • Trask Parkway, Light House Christian Center: Air conditioning units worth $5,000 stolen from church.


  • Devils Lane, Moss Creek Plantation: Electronics worth $100 stolen. Damage to residence: $100.

  • Big Oak Street: Picket fence and gate run over with lawn mower. Damage: $300.


  • Gumtree Road: Jewelry worth $6,450 stolen from apartment.

  • North Forest Beach Drive: Purse worth $40, cell phone worth $100, digital camera worth $100, licenses worth $30, two credit cards and $100 in cash stolen.
  • O'Connor Road: Two Inverness kayaks worth $400 stolen from backyard.

  • Marshland Road: Windshield shattered and side mirror of vehicle cracked. Damage: $700.

  • Sparkleberry Lane, Islanders Beach Park: Purse worth $30, three credit cards, $15 license and $350 in cash stolen. Damage to driver's window: $200.
  • Ashton Cove Drive: Dell laptop computer worth $7,800, wallet worth $20, Apple iPod Nano worth $150, wireless card worth $300 and $200 in cash stolen from unlocked car.
  • Dillon Road: Apple iPod worth $200 stolen and passenger window shattered. Damage: $140.


  • Sea Island Parkway, Wilson's Body Shop: 2,500 pounds of scrap metal worth $1,500 and $30 in other goods stolen from body shop.
  • Compiled by Juliann Vachon and Cassie Foss