• 52°

B&E cases net one arrest

GATESVILLE – Sheriff Ed Webb is a man true to his word.

Late last month, Webb promised that an investigation into a rash of B&E’s (breaking and entering) and larceny cases in Gates County would lead to an arrest or arrests.

To date, one Gates County teen has been arrested in the case and Sheriff Webb promised more to follow.

Webb reported the arrest of 17-year-old Deandre Wilkins of Hackney Road, Gates. Wilkins, jailed under a $25,000 bond, was charged with four felony counts of B&E, one felony count of possession of stolen goods or property and a misdemeanor probation violation.

Earlier, Webb said his office was on the trail of possible suspects involved in the B&E’s and thefts occurring at

Reynoldson Church as well as residences on the Gates School Road, Drum Hill Road and Willeyton Road. The Sheriff said the residential break-ins are occurring during the daylight hours when the homeowners are not present.

He added that the Suffolk (Va.) Police Department has made an arrest in connection with a B&E case in that state and that the cases are connected.

“We’ve been criss-crossing back and forth between Gates County and Suffolk, Va. in investigating this case,” Webb said. “We have shared and are continuing to share information with the Suffolk Police Department as we seek to put everyone behind bars who are involved in these break-ins.”

Webb added that five more “people of interest” are under investigation at this time.

“This case changes from day to day as more information is coming in and more evidence is collected,” Webb said. “Our intent is to go to the (Gates County) Grand Jury and seek criminal indictments against all involved. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised that those indictments, if approved, could easily surpass 100 in number.”

Armed with search warrants, the Gates County Sheriff’s Office to date has recovered numerous stolen items. Included on that list are seven shotguns, six rifles of various calibers, several pistols, tools, hand tools, jewelry, a gas mask, cameras, DVD’s and cell phones. Included among the recovered weapons is a civilian model AK-47, which Webb said was accurate up to 500 yards.

“There was some high-powered firepower among the items we recovered, including a 30-aught Six,” Webb reported.

However, it’s the weapons not discovered that worries Webb the most.

“We know, through our informants, that as many as 16 other stolen weapons are in the Tidewater, Virginia area,” Webb said. “Some of those may have been modified and moved to other states.”

Due to the fact that stolen weapons have crossed state lines, ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) agents representing both North Carolina and Virginia are involved in the case, according to Sheriff Webb.

Other agencies assisting in the case are the North Carolina Highway Patrol and Gates County Probation and Parole.

“All of the agencies are working hard on bringing this case to an end,” Webb said. “I’d like to thank all who are helping and continuing to help the Gates County Sheriff’s Office on this case. Plus I would like to commend all my officers, led by Chief Deputy Billy Spruill and Investigator Glynda Parker, for working this case. It hasn’t been an easy case to crack, but we’re getting there.”