Sampson County has experienced another wave of break-ins in recent weeks, and Sheriff Jimmy Thornton is convinced the spike is being driven by drug addicts looking for a way to make fast money.
“Drugs are the mechanism behind it,” the sheriff asserted. “When 64 percent of all the drugs produced are being consumed by people in the United States, that should tell you we have a serious problem. The break-ins we are seeing is just one aspect of the problem.”
Monday, alone, there were nine break-ins/burglaries reported to the Sheriff’s Department, with assorted items stolen, including TVs, cash, metal and tools.
“It’s that same routine,” Thornton said. “Our break-ins will go down for a little while, then you’ll see a spike in them again. It runs in cycles.”
The sheriff said break-ins typically ebb when the message gets out that officers are hot on the trail or have made several arrests. Then, when things quiet down, the crimes spike again.
“We’ve got some pretty good leads on those pending break-ins we are seeing right now,” the sheriff stressed.
So far, though, no arrests have been made.
“It’s all a sign of the times,” Thornton reiterated. “It’s not really a lot of groups out there breaking into people’s homes. It’s one or two people. They’re trying to get some fast cash, and they think the way to do that is by taking someone else’s property and then selling it, usually in another county.
Thornton said addictions are strong and more often than not serve as the catalyst for most of the break-ins that occur. “They aren’t doing it to feed their families, you can believe that. They are doing it to feed their habit.”
And while Thornton acknowledges that there are many out there who believe prison isn’t the answer, he contends it’s the only thing that sends a clear message. “Prison time resonates,” he stressed.
And, as he always does, Thornton echoed earlier comments that residents remain vigilant, watching out for their property as well as their neighbors and reporting anything suspicious to neighbors.
“Criminals won’t be so quick to break into a home they suspect is being watched by a neighbor. In today’s society, we have to be on our guard and we have to look out for one another,” Thornton said.
On Monday, the following break-ins were reported. Anyone with information about any or all these crimes are asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 910-592-4141.
• Break-in on Ozzie Road, between 8:30 Sunday night and 7:30 a.m. Monday. Stolen included power and hand tools valued at over $1,700; clothes valued at over $200; and household goods valued at over $100.
• Break-in on Wilson Road, between Aug. 23 at 4:20 p.m. and Monday at 9:40 a.m. Taken included a tool set valued at $130, a ceiling fan valued at $100; a DVD player valued at $80; CDs valued at $45 and a digital box valued at $60.
• Break-in on McDaniels Road between May 31 and Monday. Stolen was assorted medications; two machetes valued at $30; two laptop computers valued at $200, cell phones, rope and chains.
• Break-in on Creekside Lane between Aug. 23 and Monday. Taken was a sink valued at $50, a tractor battery valued at $100, two trailer frames valued at $70; and an off-set bush-hog valued at $500.
• Break-in on Faison Highway, between 7:10 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. Reported stolen was a 32-inch TV valued at $250; a Blue-Ray player valued at $75; an 18-inch TV valued at $150, a Wii game console and controls valued at $175; gym bags, Nike shoes and shorts, beach bags, sunglasses, jewelry, leaf blower, pistol, sword, cash and a toolbox. The estimated value of items stolen was over $3,500.
• Break-in on Little Joe’s Lane, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday. Cash was reported stolen.
• Break-in on Minnie-Hall Road, between noon and 5:30 p.m. Monday. A flat screen TV valued at $500 was the only thing reported stolen.
• Break-in on Church Road, between Saturday and Sunday. Taken was a 37-inch TV valued at $800 and assorted coins.