Citizens aid in arrest

Published 9:38 pm Friday, February 12, 2010

AULANDER – Apparently, two Aulander men picked the wrong house to break into Wednesday night.

Thanks to the efforts of the homeowners, one a member of the Aulander Volunteer Fire Department, as well as two local citizens, both Aulander firemen and one serving as an Aulander Town Commissioner, the two suspects were quickly apprehended.

Deputies with the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office arrested Christopher Thomas Lee, 21, of 406 Broad Street, and 20-year-old Deshawn Futrell of 1223-A Charles Taylor Road.

Both men were charged with second degree burglary, felony breaking and entering, felony larceny, possession of burglary tools and injury to personal property. Each was placed in the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail under a $7,000 secured bond and made their first court appearance on Thursday.

According to Aulander Police Officer Jimmy Barmer, the homeowner returned to their residence on the Clarence Nowell Road at approximately 10 a.m. on Wednesday. There, she noticed a black male exiting the residence and enter a vehicle operated by a white male.

“At that time, the homeowner called her husband who is an Aulander fireman and she began to follow the suspect vehicle,” Barmer said. “Her husband, along with Aulander Town Commissioner Jason Tinkham, his cousin, Andrew Tinkham and Kelly Byrum, all members of the Aulander Volunteer Fire Department, joined the wife in following the suspect car in separate vehicles.”

Barmer said he was contacted by Jason Tinkham.

“I headed out towards NC 11 at which time I noticed the line of vehicles,” Barmer said. “I joined that line and was able to perform a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle on NC 11, approximately two miles south of Aulander.”

Barmer added that while this incident was unfolding, the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office was notified and had dispatched deputies to the area.

Barmer detained both suspects until Bertie Sheriff’s Deputies Justin Jackson and Kevin Phelps arrived and made the arrest.

“The homeowner was able to identify the car and both individuals inside the vehicle as the ones she had seen earlier on her property,” Barmer said.

Additional evidence was also gathered near the scene of the traffic stop as Barmer reported that while the homeowner and other vehicles were following the suspects, a TV and DVD player were thrown from the window of the suspect car; causing damage to several vehicles that were following. That electronic equipment was later retrieved for evidence. Additionally, evidence from the crime scene was found by the deputies in Lee’s pocket.

“The Aulander Police Department thanks the homeowners as well as Jason and Andrew Tinkham for their courage to take a stand against crime in Bertie County,” Barmer said. “Without the homeowner taking the initiative and following the vehicle, these suspects may have avoided arrest.”

Bertie County Sheriff John Holley also praised the effort of those involved in this case.

“It was a good job by my deputies and by citizens of Bertie County who took an extra step to aid in the arrest of these two individuals,” Holley said. “Fortunately, in this case, the citizens’ involvement did not end with injury. We do encourage our citizens to call us to report a crime or report suspicious activity.”