By Jack Stephens
Published in News on August 16, 2005 1:46 PM
Three men from Dudley have been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to possessing property stolen from a home. A fourth person also was charged in the crime but has not been tried.
Two of the three men also pleaded guilty to trying to break into a pawn shop seven months earlier. They were arrested by the same Wayne County sheriff's deputy in both crimes.
In the latest crime, the four were arrested May 11, a short time after an alert citizen called about a break-in at a home in the 100 block of Augusta Drive. The caller provided a detailed description of the suspects' vehicle and said four black men were inside.
Deputy Chuck Schaeffer spotted the vehicle at Emmaus Church and Brewington roads, about a mile from the home, and arrested the four. They were charged with breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods.
During the investigation, the resident, Wanda Ann Bowden, was contacted and returned home. About $1,930 worth of property was stolen from the home, but it was recovered and returned. The property included computer equipment, a keyboard, entertainment equipment, a watch and other items. The thieves had smashed a door, inflicting an estimated $350 in damages, to get inside.
Two defendants -- Mario Antwan Cozart, 20, of Georgia Farms Road and Elroy Player Jr., 20, of Marshall Drive -- pleaded guilty in a negotiated settlement to possession of stolen goods.
Cozart and Player also pleaded guilty to an attempted breaking and entering Oct. 11 at the Neuse River Gun and Pawn Shop at 2339-C U.S. 117 South.
Deputy Schaeffer saw four men running behind the shop at about 3:10 a.m. and called for backup. He chased them around the business and found their car behind a nearby Hardees fast-food restaurant. The suspects ran across U.S. 117 to the BK Mart convenience store and restaurant.
Deputy William Wells and his search dog, Emmy, tracked two men to a vacant lot at Buckhorn Road and Bryan Boulevard. The two were found hiding in bushes and were taken into custody. The other two were arrested later.
Cozart and Player were sentenced to six to eight months in prison, but Judge Jerry Braswell of Goldsboro suspended the terms on condition that each complete 24 months of supervised probation, including six months of intensive probation, and 100 hours of community service work and pay a share of $550 in restitution, a $750 fine and court costs.
The third defendant, Mario Devon Crews, 20, of Athens Drive, pleaded guilty to possession of property stolen from Ms. Bowden's home. He also was sentenced to six to eight months, and the term was suspended on condition that he complete 24 months of supervised probation, including six months of intensive probation, and 100 hours of community service, pay a share of $550 in restitution, a $750 fine and court costs.
Cozart, Player and Crews were credited with spending a few days in jail before they could post bond.
The fourth defendant in the home break-in, Chad Donnavan Herring, 17, of Indian Springs Road, Mount Olive, was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on charges of breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods.
The other two defendants in the attempted break-in at the pawn shop have not been tried. Denton Conway Young, 23, of Athens Drive, Dudley, was charged with breaking and entering and possession of burglary tools. His next court appearance was scheduled for Aug. 29.
Michael Shawn Hunt, 18, of Athens Drive also was charged with breaking and entering. A charge of possession of burglary tools was dismissed. Judge Braswell put him in a diversionary program. If he completes successfully the terms imposed, then the charge would be expunged from his record.
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