Bertie town reports crime spree

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

LEWISTON-WOODVILLE – The Lewiston-Woodville Police Department is seeking the public’s help in solving a rash of crimes in this small Bertie County town.

To date, 11 crimes have been reported since Nov. 23. Six of those occurred to businesses during a three-hour stretch (2-5 a.m.) on the morning of Nov. 28.

&uot;It appears that the thieves, and I think there’s more than one involved in this rash of break-ins, have targeted businesses that do not have alarm systems,&uot; said Lewiston-Woodville Police Chief Winston Panton.

Panton was extremely busy on that Friday morning after Thanksgiving, attempting to gain information and evidence on the half-dozen break-ins.

The first target appeared to be A&J Diner (107 East Main St.) where suspects gained entry by throwing a rock through the front door glass. Once inside, they allegedly stole $40 in change and damaged the cash register. Total damage was estimated at $300.

&uot;What was so bizarre about this break-in was that the suspects had enough time on their hands to go into a freezer, take out some chicken nuggets and then cooked and ate them while inside the restaurant,&uot; said Chief Panton.

Next door to the restaurant, JT Design Fashion World was robbed of merchandise (women’s lingerie) displayed in the window. Entry was gained by throwing a rock through a plate glass window. Damage and loss of merchandise was estimated at $500.

The biggest heist came at All Eyes on You, a beauty parlor located at 108 Main St. There, Panton said the suspects pried open a door and swiped eight gold men’s watches, eight men’s and women’s matching watch sets, 30 cigarette lighters, 20 necklaces, six knives, 20 New York style caps, 26 toboggans and three sets of hair trimmers. Damage to the store and the estimated cost of the stolen merchandise totaled over $3,000.

Three other businesses reported attempts were made to enter their establishments on the same morning – Doris Hair Gallery (104 Church St.), Elegant Hair Design (105 Main St.) and Pittman Insurance (103 Main St.). In each case, the suspect(s) attempted to gain entry by prying open a door. Damages to the doors at those businesses ranged between $50 and $100.

Another Lewiston-Woodville business – the Bertie Health Center – was broken in to sometimes after 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 where a side door was pried open. Chief Panton reported that $150 in cash was stolen. Damage to the door was $350.

In addition to the business thefts, several vehicles have been damaged while one residence was robbed.

A vehicle registered to Dorothy Mae Jacobs of 120 Lake Drive was vandalized in the early morning hours of Nov. 24. Estimated damage was listed at $2,000. The next morning (Nov. 25), the Luther Taylor Jr. residence (130 Lake Drive) was robbed of $30 in change. Entry was gained through a window. Taylor’s vehicle was also vandalized. Total damage for the car and the home was listed at $830.

Also on Nov. 24, Angela Harris of 108 Wheel St. told Chief Panton that someone broke into her vehicle and stole a cell phone.

On Tuesday of this week, Panton reported that the tires and rims were stolen off a vehicle registered to Cynthia Williams of 103 Hamlin Lane. In addition, the front passenger side window was broken while the entire vehicle was &uot;keyed&uot; (severely scratched). The total loss and damage was estimated at $3,400.

&uot;I need help in getting to the bottom of these crimes,&uot; stressed Chief Panton. &uot;If anyone has any information, no matter how trivial you may think it is, please call the Town Hall at 348-2499. All we need is your information, not your name.&uot;