06/11/08 — Six arrested for spree of 60 break-ins

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Six arrested for spree of 60 break-ins

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on June 11, 2008 1:46 PM

Four young men and two teens have spent the last few months ransacking cars, yards, businesses and one home in their neighborhoods, authorities allege.

Wayne County Sheriff's Office Capt. Tom Effler said Tuesday that investigators have pinned 60 recent larcenies on the six suspects after a lengthy investigation in the Fallingbrook, Lane Tree and Buck Swamp communities.

The six suspects worked at night to find items of value around their neighborhoods, Effler said.

"At this point, the investigation has linked over 60 car break-ins and larcenies committed by these suspects," Effler said in a news release.

The adult connected to the largest number of break-ins was John Harley Smith, 20, Plantation Drive. He has been charged with 22 counts of felonious breaking and entering of a motor vehicle.

But a 15-year-old juvenile arrested in the case is allegedly involved in even more crimes, charged with 45 felony-level counts, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

Some of the property that deputies say the young men stole has been returned to the rightful owners, according to Effler.

Sheriff Carey Winders praised residents of the communities for keeping an active watch on their areas.

"The citizens and the business owners in these ares have been a great help in assisting with the identification of these suspects," Winders said in a release.

But authorities also insist the investigation is not over. People with any information that may be related to this series of crimes are urged to call the Sheriff's Office Investigative Division at 731-1480.

Others arrested in the investigation so far include:

*Brandon Christopher Epps, 19, Trappers Run Drive, one count each of felony-level breaking and entering a motor vehicle, larceny, and possession of stolen property. Jailed under $4,999 bond.

*Jonathan James Ammons, 16, Labonte Drive, Pikeville, 11 counts breaking or entering a motor vehicle, one count breaking and entering a business, one count larceny. Jailed under $100,000 bond.

*Eugene Moye Jackson, 18, Perkins Road, 11 counts felonious breaking or entering a motor vehicle and larceny. Jailed under $4,999 bond.

*Two juveniles, ages 14 and 15. Included among the 15-year-old's 45 felony-level charges is one of first-degree burglary. He is in the custody of the Pitt County Juvenile Detention facility. The 14-year-old was charged with three counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle. Bond is pending, authorities said.