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Brothers charged in crime spree

GREENVILLE – The arrest of two Greenville brothers charged in a four-year crime spree in Pitt County may possibly have a link to break-ins at a pair of Bertie County businesses earlier this year.

According to a report on www.witn.com, Donneill Brown, 34, of 3007 Apt. E Mulberry Lane in Greenville, and his brother, 33-year-old Donald Brown of 1084 Benjamin Drive in Greenville, were arrested on Wednesday of last week and charged with dozens of so-called “hole in the wall cases”.

Each is being charged with at least 38 crimes in Pitt County, along with 22 in Greenville. Each case will bring multiple felony charges.

Their arrests came after two break-ins in Martin County early Tuesday morning, prompting a joint investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies.

The brothers are also suspects in similar crimes that have occurred in 13 other eastern North Carolina jurisdictions.

Windsor Police Chief Todd Lane said he was contacted last week by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office about the brothers’ arrests.

“We’re scheduled to meet with Pitt County investigators later this week and share notes about our case here in Windsor,” Lane said.

Lane added that a Jan. 14 robbery at the Pun Jab convenience store, located on US 13 North, bore similarities with the cases in Pitt County and Greenville.

“The method of entry (cutting a hole in the roof to gain entry) in the Pun Jab case is the same,” Lane said.

In the Pun Jab case, an ATM inside the store was broken in to and cash was taken.

“As of right now, the Brown brothers have not been charged with that particular crime here in Windsor. I’ll be able to share more information once we meet with the (Pitt County) investigators later this week,” Lane remarked.

Meanwhile, Bertie County Sheriff John Holley may also meet with the Pitt County lawmen in an effort to see if the Brown brothers are possibly connected to a Feb. 24 break-in at Family Foods in Lewiston.

According to the R-C News-Herald archives, that store was burglarized sometime in the early hours. Holley said an alarm at the store alerted his office of possible entry at approximately 1:51 a.m., and that Deputy Alvin Hendrix responded to the call and was on the scene at 2:16 a.m.

A visual inspection by the deputy revealed that a person, or persons, had possibly entered the grocery store through the business’ metal roof after a 2’ x 2’ hole in the roofing was discovered. The Sheriff said he believed the hole in the roof may have been made with a tool similar to a ball-peen hammer and/or axe.

Among the missing items was an undetermined amount of cash.

The Sheriff said items believed to have been used in the larceny and left behind were burglary tools, including a metal crowbar.

“Information we’ve shared with other law enforcement leads us to believe that this event in Lewiston is similar of several that have occurred in Pitt County,” Holley said.

In addition to the crimes in Pitt County, Greenville, Bertie County, Windsor, and Martin County, other jurisdictions where similar breaking and entering / larceny cases have been reported include Aurora, Beaufort County, Belhaven, Bethel, Craven County, Edgecombe County, Farmville, Greene County, Hyde County, Lenoir County, Robersonville, and Williamston.

WITN.com reported that a judge on Wednesday morning set Donneill Brown’s bond at $11.7 million. Judge Lee Teague says if convicted of all charges the man faces 319 years in prison. Donald Brown’s bond was set at $9.2 million. If convicted, the judge said his maximum time in prison would be 236 years.

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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