ELIZABETHTOWN — The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office has put a stop to a rash of break-ins taking place in the county with the arrest of several individuals.
In the first case, on Wednesday, July 25, the owner of a hog farm on Elkton Road reported the theft of tools and a tractor. The owner had previously told them he had found an employee’s truck at the farm but could not locate the employee — he also had seen a hypodermic needle and syringe laying on the seat and was concerned for his employees safety.
“While deputies were there investigating the breaking and entering of a tool shed, they heard a tractor approaching with the missing employee driving,” Sheriff Jim McVicker said. “They followed him to his truck and found him loading televisions and other items into his truck. When confronted he admitted to stealing the tools from the farm and breaking into a home located (on) Burney Ford Road.”
Deputies arrested the worker, William Brent Shaw, 34, of Bladenboro and charged him with larceny by employee, two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of larceny after breaking and entering, two counts of possession of stolen goods, and one count of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance (heroin). He was also served with an outstanding child-support warrant and was booked under a $70, 156 secured bond.
The owner of the farm reported $900 in equipment stolen and the homeowner reported $2,188 in property stolen along with extensive damage to the interior of the home.
“Most of the items were recovered, but Shaw admitted he was so impaired from the drugs he was taking he did not remember what he did with some of the items he stole,” McVicker said.
In another case, on Friday, July 27, two homes were broken into on Luther Brisson Road. Stolen items at one location included two televisions, a radio, tools, and a truck bed cover — all valued at $2,175. Items stolen at the second location included televisions, jewelry, clothing, a play station, a generator and a handgun — all valued at more than $4,000.
Investigators recovered property from a pawn shop in Bladenboro and from a flea market on Hwy. 41 in Robeson County. Investigators hope to recover additional stolen items as they continue to investigate the case.
Arrested and/or charged in these cases were:
— Kameron Drake Thomas, 23, of Lumberton. Thomas was charged with two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of felonious larceny, two counts of possession of stolen goods, one count of larceny of a firearm, one count of possession of a stolen firearm, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. Thomas was placed under a $530,000 secured bond.
— Gary Gene Dowless, 39, of Lumberton. Dowless was charged with two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of felonious larceny, two counts of possession of stolen goods, one count of larceny of a firearm and one count of possession of a stolen firearm. His bond was set at $33,000. Dowless was also served with four outstanding warrants for failure to appear in court on misdemeanor charges and one assault with a deadly weapon.
— Laiken Alexandria Thomas, 19, of Lumberton. She was charged with one count of breaking and entering, one count of felonious larceny, one count of felonious possession stolen goods and one count of obtaining property by false pretense. Thomas has not been arrested as of this time but officers are actively searching for her.
“I think my deputies did an excellent job of investigating these break-ins,” said McVicker. “The patrol deputies were instrumental in solving the first case and the investigators worked hard to uncover the suspects in the other cases.
“We had assistance from Lumberton Police Department and Robeson County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina Probation and Parole,” he added. “I am always thankful of the cooperation seen every day between the various agencies. Crime fighting is truly a team effort.”