Repeat Offender

Published 9:35 am Monday, September 22, 2014

WINTON – A Bertie County man with a history of criminal activity, including an arrest in March of this year, is behind bars once again.

William E. Coston III

William E. Coston III

William Earl Coston III, 24 of 708 Indian Woods Road, Lewiston-Woodville, was arrested in the early morning hours of Sept. 14, charged with a string of vehicle break-ins and larceny in a neighborhood along NC 461.

In that crime, Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan said Coston stands charged with five felony counts of breaking and entering of a motor vehicle, and four felony counts of larceny. He was jailed under a $30,000 bond and made his first appearance in Hertford County District Court on Tuesday of this week.

Vaughan said his office received a call at around 3:40 a.m. on Sept. 14 from a citizen who reported that as he was leaving for work, he noticed someone had been inside his vehicle.

“The caller advised us he saw a male, wearing a light-colored shirt and dark pants, leaving his yard on foot,” Vaughan said.

HCSO Sgt. Issaii Williams and Deputy Zachery Mize responded to the scene. Vaughan said that upon their arrival they saw an individual, matching the clothing description, attempting to flee.

“After a short search, they were able to locate the suspect in another yard, hiding between a bush and an air conditioner unit,” Vaughan reported. “My officers immediately recognized the suspect due to the fact they were the ones involved in Mr. Coston’s arrest in another vehicle breaking-and-entering case earlier this year.”

Vaughan added that his officers found Coston in possession of multiple credit/debt cards (none listed in his name), $189 in US currency, one necklace, and several packs of snack crackers.

Once Coston was detained, Williams and Mize learned that other vehicles were broken into. HCSO Deputy Charles Reynolds was called to assist.

“Because they were asleep at the time, the neighbors didn’t know they were victims of crime,” Vaughan said. “Deputy Reynolds went door-to-door, alerting the citizens as to what was taking place. He advised them to check their vehicles.”

That check revealed that various items were stolen from five vehicles.

“I commend my deputies for conducting a thorough search until they found the suspect and found the stolen items,” Vaughan said. “This case serves as a reminder to all citizens that they need to secure their vehicles, day and night.”

Later, as deputies were leaving the scene, a black Chevrolet Camaro – with the windows rolled down and the keys in the ignition – was discovered parked on the shoulder near the intersection of NC 461 and Pleasant Plains Road. Vaughan said the owner of that vehicle was contacted and said she had allowed Coston to use her car that night.

Coston was arrested in early March of this year and charged with three felony counts each of breaking and entering of a motor vehicle, and larceny. That crime had a similar connection to the most recent case as HCSO officers responded to a call about a suspicious car parked on the Lee Harmon Road near the Menola community. They found that vehicle, unlocked with the keys in the ignition, had been moved to the side of Fennell Road off NC 561 near Tri-County Airport. Deputies searched the area around and near the vehicle, finding various items on the shoulder of the road.

A check of a residence near where the car was parked revealed a break-in and theft of items from three vehicles. Among the items stolen, and recovered, were a cell phone, shotgun shells and a gas card.

Vaughan said his deputies, during their search of the area, noted fresh footprints in the morning’s pre-dawn dew. Those footprints were coming from the yard of the residence where the vehicle break-ins occurred, leading the deputies to call for the HCSO’s K-9. Coston was arrested a short time later.

The arrest also involved the seizure of Coston’s vehicle, a 1999 Plymouth passenger car.

Coston’s arrest record, as posted to the NCDPS Offender website, shows previous criminal activity, to include second degree trespass (12-1-2006); communicating threats (3-7-2007); destroy/damage a vending machine (3-27-2007); and breaking and entering (3-27-2009). All of those crimes occurred in Bertie County.

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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