CHESTER, S.C. -- A table in the Chester County Sheriff's Office is loaded with thousands of sheets of papers. The papers are either copies or original documents of arrest warrants that have been turning up recently.
Sheriff Alex Underwood showed the papers to the media to highlight what he's encountered when he took over. Many of those warrants were never served, meaning no one was arrested, because the person in charge of the department and his staff failed to so.
"We found them under a desk, under boxes hid in cubicles hidden in Tupperware containers,” said Sheriff Underwood.
It started shortly after newly elected Sheriff Underwood took over the office as the first ever African American sheriff in Chester County. He noticed that some arrest warrants seemed to be unaccounted for. When he checked into the problem, he found out the problem was not a few missing, or misplaced warrants--hundreds started turning up.
Warrants set over from the courthouse are supposed to be entered into the sheriff's database. This way deputies know who is wanted on an arrest warrant.
"This makes it dangerous for my deputies," said Underwood. "When my guys make a traffic stop, they don't know (if) the guy they're stopping is wanted or not. That gives that guy an upper hand and puts my guys in danger.”
The sheriff's office has spent the last few weeks going over each warrant to make sure everything is in order. The director of the 911 center said that it may take another week until all the documents are double checked.
Underwood, who once worked for SLED, said he plans to call them to investigate the matter.
"There may be some criminal elements involved in this thing here," he said. "Some charges may need to be taken against some of these employees who withheld these warrants."