Businessman chases alleged thieves

Published 11:22 am Saturday, December 19, 2009

CONWAY — Two men from Goldsboro have been arrested after they chose to steal from the wrong person.

On Sunday, Jeffery Lee Smith, 39, of Highway 70 West and Sterling Trejo, 21, of O’Bury Center Road were apprehended by Northampton County Sheriff’s deputies near Jackson after the victim the two men allegedly stole from chased them in his own vehicle to the town line.

According to Conway Police Chief Billy Duke, whose department is handling the charges, the victim first noticed the two suspects Sunday morning as he pulled into the family business, Garris Sales and Service on Main Street.

Duke said at first the victim thought he recognized the vehicle. After losing sight of the vehicle, he drove to the back of the property where he discovered one man in the vehicle and another trying to steal a LP gas tank. Upon confrontation, the suspect returned to the vehicle at which time the suspect driving put the truck in reverse and allegedly attempted to hit the victim.

Duke said the victim had a handgun and at that time discharged the weapon at the vehicle.

After the suspects’ fled the scene, the victim got into his vehicle and pursued the suspects west on U.S. 158.

Duke said deputies with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office stopped suspects’ vehicle near Jackson and placed Smith and Trejo in custody.

Smith was charged with possession of a meth precursor, possession of stolen goods and assault with a deadly weapon. He was placed in the Northampton County Jail on a $3,500 bond.

Trejo was charged with possession of a meth precursor and possession of stolen goods. He was placed in the Northampton County Jail on a $3,000 bond.

Duke thanked the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.

“I’m grateful for their support,” he said.