WECT Investigates: Missing, stolen property from state schools and facilities

WECT Investigates: Missing, stolen property from state schools and facilities
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - More than $200,000 worth of equipment and property were reported missing, stolen or damaged at state facilities in southeastern North Carolina in 2014.

The Department of Public Safety keeps a list of all state-owned equipment that is lost, stolen or damaged. Locally, the list includes places like UNCW, Brunswick Community College and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

In all, UNCW has the most items reported as lost, stolen or damaged out of the state-run facilities in our area, but it's also the biggest place on the list.

A big chunk of the $201,000 total amount can be attributed to a seahawk statue that was stolen from UNCW in July. The statue, worth $70,000, was found in October.

Joseph Edward Berry, 21, of Hillsborough, Robert Joseph Touhey, 20, of Ocracoke, and Nicholas Ryan Siano, 19, of Wilmington, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor injury to real property before Judge Robin Robinson on October 23, 2014.

She sentenced them to a suspended sentence of 45 days and one year of supervised probation, a $200 fine, and $180 court costs.

They also share the responsibility of $3,000 in restitution, to be paid by October 23, 2015.  Their community service is to be completed in conjunction with that, and they are not allowed back on UNCW property except with written approval.

In October, someone swiped two oboes worth $14,000 and a $1,500 piccolo from the school.

Additionally, a $16,000 GPS unit that belonged to the Geography Department was taken from UNCW. Police tracked it down, finding it at a pawn shop in Texas.  No arrests have been made.

The UNCW police department also made the list after someone broke into an officer's personal car, which was parked at his house, and took some 40 caliber ammunition and a university citation ticket book. In all, the thief got away with more than $200 worth of things.

At Southeastern Community College in Columbus County, a John Deer Gator was damaged during an attempted theft. The damage totaled $4,000. The incident also caused $1,000 of damaged to a golf cart.

More than $4,000 worth of stuff was lost or stolen from Brunswick Community College in Bolivia. The list includes a welding machine taken from classroom and speakers stolen from the auditorium.

A big ticket item taken from the Maritime Museum in Southport in 2014 made headlines - a $5,000 Megalodon tooth.

Alison Erca is due in court later this month for apparently taking the tooth out of its glass enclosure.

The artifact has since been returned.

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