Officers were dispatched to Columbia Academy around 11 p.m. Friday to investigate a vehicle burglary.
It was later discovered as many as three vehicles belonging to cancer patients or their families were broken into.
According to a police report, a large rock was used to smash the front passenger side window of a locked car. Several items were reported stolen, including a purse, wallet, debit card, credit card and a loaded handgun.
“The offender in this case took a rock, possibly from the landscaping area, and smashed in the window and stole items from inside of her car,” said Sgt. Tony Gray.
Another participant at the event told officers that someone had gotten inside of her vehicle and moved items around. Some loose change was reported missing.
In a third vehicle burglary, the owner told police his Smith and Wesson revolver, which he kept under his driver’s seat, was stolen. Police said there was no forced entry.
“Anybody out there with an unauthorized weapon they shouldn’t have, that’s concerning to law enforcement,” the sergeant added. “That’s a safety hazard for the public; that’s a safety hazard for us.”
Columbia police said there have been several car break-ins in recent weeks throughout the city.
“They have no concern for people. They have one agenda and that’s to serve themselves,” said Sgt. Gray.
Attendees at the event were able to give police a possible suspect description.
Officers are following up on leads and urge anyone with information to contact authorities.