5 teens arrested on numerous charges

ELIZABETHTOWN — Five Bladen County teenagers were arrested Monday and face numerous charges after a home break-in on Sept. 19.

According to Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker, the break-in occurred on N.C. 87 East near Elizabethtown.

“My investigators have been able to arrest and charge five individuals with this crime,” said McVicker. “These young men broke into a home, vandalized it and then stole two shotguns from inside the home. They also vandalized two vehicles in the yard by shooting them, stole a rifle and weedeater, and then stole a pickup truck.”

McVicker said his investigators canvassed the neighborhood and were able to get leads from area residents that lead them to the individuals responsible for the crimes.

There was more than $6,000 in damages and stolen property he said. McVicker said investigators recovered the stolen truck and one of the stolen firearms.

The five youth were charged with three counts of larceny of a firearm, three counts of possession of a stolen firearm, one count of larceny of a motor vehicle, one count of possession of a stolen vehicle, one count of breaking and entering a motor vehicle, one count of breaking and entering a residence and one count of larceny from the residence. They were additionally charged with two counts of injury to personal property and one count of injury to real property.

Charged were:

— Darren Anthony Gardner, 16, of Elizabethtown. Gardner was given a $125,000 bond

— Benjiman Allen Bailey, 16, of Elizabethtown. He was jailed under a $35,000 bond.

— Cevon Ferris Jones, 17 of Clarkton. His bond was set at $275,000.

— Dillon Keith Long, 17, of Bladenboro. Long received a $175,000 bond.

— Jonathan Lee Melvin Jr., 19, of Elizabethtown. Melvin’s bond was set at $35,000.

“Sharp-eyed neighbors were instrumental in providing us with information that lead my deputies to the culprits and solved this crime,” McVicker added. “ Neighbors watching out for neighbors can mean a lot. We are always more than happy to help neighborhoods set up community watch programs.”