TargetSAVANNAH, GA (March 18, 2016): Unfortunately, the “Luck of the Irish” wasn’t with everyone attending Savannah’s 2016 Saint Patrick’s Day celebration this year, so the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department wants to warn the public of a few potential pitfalls.

  • A group of entrepreneurial thieves took advantage of out-of-town tourists and setup shop in a vacant lot during the parade Thursday. Drivers paid $10 to park in the private lot, which was not owned by those selling parking spaces. Nearly 40 vehicles were towed from the location after the lot was full and the scam artists fled the scene. This incident is currently under investigation.  Visitors are urged to park in City of Savannah parking garages if possible. Even though parking is extremely limited in the downtown area, patrons may consider parking at Hutchinson Island and taking the ferry to River Street.
  • Cell phones proved to be a prime target for thieves who take advantage of crowded areas where many unsuspecting victims do not feel their phone lifted from their pocket. Police advise it’s a bad idea to keep valuables in a back pocket and note that items in a front pocket are often more difficult to successfully steal. Visitors attending the celebration should stay vigilant, avoid carrying or displaying large amounts of money or valuables, and take note of a suspect’s physical features in order to provide a description to police.
  • There were several arrests for underage drinking on St Patrick’s Day in Savannah. Party goers who illegally drink alcohol will be arrested. Those 17 and older, but not yet 21, will be transported to the Chatham County Detention Center, given the opportunity to post bond, and will face a judge at a later date. Offenders under 17 will be arrested as a juvenile and often times released to their parent or guardian. The younger offenders will face a juvenile court judge for the charges.

With just 10 arrests Thursday inside the boundaries of the St. Patrick’s Festival Control Zone, SCMPD officers and partner agencies continue to monitor the 2016 celebration to ensure a fun and safe time for everyone.