09/26/10 — Break-in discovered at courthouse

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Break-in discovered at courthouse

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 26, 2010 1:50 AM

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Wayne County Sheriff's Office Det. Mike Reed looks over some of the damage done to an area inside the district attorney's office in the Wayne County Courthouse. Several offices were ransacked sometime Friday night. It was unclear at presstime Saturday evening how the suspect(s) gained entry into the building.

A Friday night break-in at the Wayne County Courthouse appears to have been an attempt to steal electronic equipment and is not related to any ongoing court cases, Wayne County Sheriff's Capt. Tom Effler said Saturday afternoon.

A photograph of the suspect was captured on the building's security video system and the public's help is being sought in identifying the man who is believed to have cut himself during the break-in.

The crime is being jointly investigated by the Sheriff's Office and Goldsboro Police Department.

"We will probably be the lead investigators on it," Effler said, since the police department is involved in ongoing case in the courthouse. "The Goldsboro Police Department is helping us process the scene and helping with security on the scene."

It is unclear how the suspect entered the building since there is no sign of forced entry.

"We don't know if a door was left unlocked accidentally or if they got in somehow that we haven't discovered or if possibly they were in the courthouse and spent the night in it," Effler said. "We have no reason to speculate that this break-in had anything to do with any current or future trial or case.

"No signs of forced entry have been found at this time. The investigation has shown that the culprit appears to have been interested in stealing electronic equipment. It is believed that most of the property has been recovered, but it will not be known for sure until all personnel that work in the courthouse return to work. Several offices and courtrooms were entered by the suspect(s)."

Effler said a lot of electronic equipment had been piled up and left on the floor.

"We don't know if he was interrupted or just decided there was just too much of it," he said.

Several offices were ransacked and in some cases windows were broken or doors pried open to gain entry. At least one of the courtrooms was entered as well.

The break-in was discovered just after 5 a.m. Saturday morning when Assistant District Attorney Mike Rick s came in to take care of some paperwork.

"He started seeing some items laying outside the courthouse," Effler said. "When he went into the courthouse he saw items everywhere else. He went up to his office and saw where it was ransacked and items laying throughout the courthouse."

Rick called 911 and  the Goldsboro Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Carey Winders and Chief of police Tim Bell responded.

Several briefcases were discovered hidden behind the bushes next to the building that line the ramp leading to the courthouse annex's William Street entrance. The door is obscured by a wall and is located just down from the county jail and just blocks away from the police station.

Crime scene investigators sifted through the briefcases, making notes, taking photographs and bagging evidence.

One of the briefcases belonged to District Attorney Branny Vickory, who was called to the scene. It contained a few files along with an electrical power strip and several computer power and other cables.

Vickory contacted Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones.

Deputies Det. Sgt. Mike Kabler and Rick Farfour are the investigating detectives in the case, but they are being assisted by crime scene personnel from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the Goldsboro Police Department.

 Anyone with information about the case or who recognizes the suspect is asked to call the Wayne County Sheriff's Office at (919) 731-1481 or Wayne County Crime Stoppers at (919) 735-2255.