Metal theft solved

Published 9:01 am Tuesday, April 23, 2013

By Lance Martin

AULANDER – One of two Rich Square men believed to be involved in the theft of metal products was caught in the act on Thursday of attempting to sell off the stolen material.

Phillip Shearin, 24, was arrested after Detective R. Somogyi of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office received a tip that he was at a Bertie County scrap yard near Aulander. Somogyi contacted the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office, who went to the scrap yard and placed Shearin under arrest. He was jailed on $10,000 bond.

Somogyi said Shearin along with 32-year-old Donald Whitaker, also of Rich Square, were identified as the alleged suspects in the metal theft cases that occurred March 15 in Halifax County. The first of those thefts took place in the area of NC 561 near Halifax where scrap metal was stolen from behind an abandoned house.

Suspects at the scene fled into the woods upon the arrival of Deputy Thomas Sewell. Sewell and Lieutenant Neil Aycock located the alleged suspects’ vehicle in the area.

Somogyi assisted in the investigation and located another residential break-in. After talking to the owner, he learned a refrigerator, gas heater and chairs were taken from the residence. They also allegedly attempted to take a heating oil tank.

The investigation also tied the same suspects to two additional break-ins at the Tillery Community Center where window air conditioner units were stolen.

All the items were taken to a salvage yard in Bertie County, according to Somogyi.

Arrest warrants were obtained for both men on counts of breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen property, larceny and damage to real property.

Whitaker was arrested April 10 by the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office and jailed on an $11,000 bond.

The men have May 1 court dates in Halifax County.

(Lance Martin is Publisher and Editor of and granted permission for this story to be published.)