COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Detectives with the Columbus County Sheriff's Office have charged five suspects with a rash of home break-ins last year.
According to officials, the investigation began on Nov. 24 after the suspects kicked in the back door of a home on Hallsboro Road South in Whiteville and stole firearms, a gaming console, and some collectible coins.
Three days later, the suspects reportedly broke into the rear door of a home on Bill Hooks Road in Whiteville and stole several items. Following the break-in, the homeowner installed security cameras. The suspects returned to the home a few days later.
They reportedly entered an enclosed porch and stole additional items. During both burglaries, the suspects stole firearms, ammunition, a compound bow, two Yeti coolers, and other hunting gear.
The homeowner's security system caught one of the suspects on the porch and a white Nissan Murano he was using.
Detectives released the images to the public on Dec. 4 and used tips from the community to identify the suspect. Photo-enhancement software helped the detectives obtain a partial license plate number from the SUV.
On Dec. 3, the suspects broke into a home on Page Road in Clarkton and allegedly took guns, ammo, a television, a gaming system, two cell phones, several watches, coin currency, and hunting gear. Detectives were able to use GPS to track one of the stolen items to a home on New Britton Highway East in Whiteville.
Detectives went to the home on Dec. 5 and located a white Nissan Murano that was similar to the one used in the Bill Hooks Road burglary. The homeowner gave detectives permission to search the property and vehicle. Some of the stolen property from the previous break-ins was located.
Detectives secured the scene and executed a search warrant at the property. Numerous stolen items were located during the search.
The same day, the suspects allegedly broke into a home on Red Hill Road in Clarkton and stole a chainsaw, two weed eaters, three compound bows, a cell phone, a jar of coins, and a pair of hunting boots.
The last break-in was reported on Dec. 20 at a home on Midway Drive in Chadbourn. The suspects took jewelry, a jar of coins, a laptop, a television, and a gun.
During the investigation, Columbus County detectives discovered some of the stolen property was being stored at a home on Waynes Drive in Whiteville. Detectives received permission to search the home and found more stolen property.
Approximately 50 items were recovered during the entirety of the investigation.
The following suspects were arrested on Jan. 5 for the burglaries:
- Katie Elizabeth Sutton, 23, of Chadbourn, was charged with one count each of felony larceny, breaking and entering, and larceny of a firearm. She's given a $20,000 bond.
- Joshua Grooms, 25, of Whiteville, was charged with two counts each of felony larceny, and breaking and entering, and one count of larceny of a firearm. He was given a $16,000 bond.
- Nekema Haley, 20, of Whiteville, was charged with four counts each of felony larceny and breaking and entering, 3 counts of larceny of a firearm. He was given a $57,500 bond.
- Joshua Hulon, 26, of Chadbourn, was charged with three counts each of felony larceny, breaking and entering, and larceny of a firearm. He was given a $60,000 bond.
- Garret Michael Snodgrass, 25, of Chadbourn, was charged with four counts each of felony larceny, breaking and entering, and larceny of a firearm. He was given a $105,000 bond.
Officials said charges against the suspects are pending in Bladen County and more charges in Columbus County are possible.
The investigation is ongoing.