by Paul Bowers
An employee at a West Ashley car dealership is accused of stealing credit card information from customers after a private investigator busted him with hidden cameras, a Crown Royal bag full of pocket change, and a stash of almonds in a glove compartment, according to a police incident report.
Toyota of Charleston Manager Steven Rhoads told police that he had received several complaints from customers who said that employees were stealing items from their vehicles. He also said that one employee had seen another employee, 47-year-old Kenneth Mays of Walterboro, placing several items in a black bag in his personal vehicle after exiting a customer's vehicle. Mays is listed as a service greeter on the Toyota of Charleston Service Center website.
The dealership hired John Clayton, a private investigator with Lowcountry PI Services, to investigate the incident. Setting up a sting, Clayton rigged his personal vehicle with two surveillance cameras and placed a Crown Royal bag in the car with $7.50 worth of change inside. He dropped the car off at the dealership, and while Mays was driving the vehicle into the maintenance bay, he was caught on video stealing $3.30 worth of change from the purple velvet bag and going through Clayton's checkbook. In addition, Mays was caught eating some almonds out of Clayton's glove compartment.
Friday afternoon, Mays was called into the managers' office at Toyota of Charleston, where a police officer placed him under arrest on a charge of simple larceny. Police searched his vehicle and found a sheet of paper with Toyota customers' names, five credit card numbers, and their respective security codes and expiration dates written on it. Police also found a black bag in Mays' vehicle with a few dollar bills and loose change inside.