Ahoskie man jailed under $1.4 million bond

Published 10:22 am Monday, April 16, 2012

MOREHEAD CITY – An Ahoskie man is being held under a $1.4 million bond as a suspect in criminal activity that occurred in Carteret County.

Thomas Earl Earley, 48, whose address is listed as 207 North Curtis Street, stands charged with a total of 39 felonies – 22 counts of breaking and entering and 17 counts of larceny following a break-in.

According to Captain Jason Wank, Chief Detective of the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, Earley’s arrest was in connection with a break-in and larceny of numerous storage units at J&J Mini Warehouse, located on US 70 in Newport. That break-in was discovered Dec. 2 by officers with the Newport Police Department.

“We first assumed that the crime was committed by someone here in our area,” Wank said.

He added that following an investigation by one of his detectives, Michael Panzerella, as well as the Newport Police, the search for a suspect or suspects broadened.

“The investigators were able to track down the trailer, believed to have been used to transport the stolen goods, to a person up in your area,” Wank said. “That person was contacted and told our investigators that he lent the trailer to ‘so-and-so’ which led to Mr. Earley becoming a suspect.”

Wank added that storage warehouses in several other counties – to include Jones, Lenoir and Pitt – suffered similar crimes.

“There were numerous storage units here in our county and several other counties where thefts were reported,” Wank stated. “The suspect or suspects came in and stole everything they could get their hands on; we assume those items were sold for 100 percent profit.”

Wank said numerous detectives from various law enforcement agencies have worked the case since December.

While no other arrests have been made in the case, Wank said the investigation remains actively open.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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