More charges leveled at West Bladen teen

By: W. Curt Vincent - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — Less than 24 hours after the arrest of a 16-year-old West Bladen student for bringing a 9mm handgun on campus, further investigation by the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office revealed the teenager had allegedly been busy breaking into a residence.

Gabriel James McDowell, of Clarkton, was arrested Wednesday morning after a search of his vehicle in the West Bladen parking lot held the weapon.

At the time, McDowell was charged with two counts of possession of a weapon on educational property and two counts of possession of a handgun by a minor/carrying a concealed weapon. His bond for those counts was set at $85,000 secured.

Sheriff’s investigators began digging into McDowell’s background and soon discovered that he was a suspect in a breaking and entering case that occurred on Tuesday, Oct. 24, along N.C. 410 South in Bladenboro. There, the homeowner had reported there were two weapons stolen — one of which was the 9mm handgun McDowell was in possession of at West Bladen.

The additional charges now leveled against McDowell include felony breaking and entering, felony larceny, felony possession of stolen goods, larceny of a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm.

There was no information available on McDowell’s additional bond or if the second stolen weapon had been located.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or


W. Curt Vincent

Bladen Journal