Man charged after authorities find $200K in stolen property hidden in ‘sophisticated’ tunnel system

Man charged after authorities find $200K in stolen property

PIEDMONT, S.C. (WHNS/CNN) - South Carolina deputies arrested a man after he was caught using a “sophisticated" tunnel system to hide more than $200,000 worth of stolen goods.

Deputies said Timothy Glenn Painter Jr. dug the network of tunnels and used them to conceal the stolen items.

"My family is shocked by this,” said Breanna Painter, the suspect’s sister. “We knew it was bad but not as bad as all this has gone out."

Deputies said a tip led them to the property earlier this week.

What followed was a two-day search on the Piedmont property.

What they found shocked even the most seasoned deputies.

"We didn't expect to see a tunnel system this intricate," said Ryan Flood, PIO with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies unearthed an underground tunnel system hidden in plain sight.

Painter's sister said she had no idea he was capable of something like this.

"He's not always been this person,” she said. “He's worked his butt off for what he's owned. I mean drugs completely take a toll in your life and make you a completely different person."

Investigators said Painter used stolen construction equipment to dig out the tunnels and build the intricate system beneath his 4-acre property.

"They eventually lead to a dead end roughly 15 feet underground,” Flood said. “Very sophisticated to see, not something very common that we see on a residential property."

Deputies found construction equipment, lawnmowers, tools and cars hidden inside the tunnels.

"Just a wide array of property that valued in excess of $200,000," Flood said.

Painter is charged with grand larceny and eight counts of possessing stolen goods.

His sister said she feels bad for the victims and apologizes for her brother’s actions.

“I apologize to the victims, the ones we know and the ones we don’t know,” said Breanna Painter. “He needs to sit in there, clean up, maybe when he has a clean state of mind, he will be able to apologize, but as far as me and my family, I know we are very sorry.”

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