Rash of burglaries hits Chocowinity businesses

Published 6:44 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2016

CHOCOWINITY — A rash of break-ins in Chocowinity has law enforcement looking for suspects and links to similar crimes.

In the early morning hours Wednesday, three businesses were hit: Hwy 55 and Mi Amor’s Pizzeria in Chocowinity Town Center and Modlin’s Country Store and Seafood on U.S. Highway 17 South.

“They broke the glass doors out of all three,” said Chocowinity Police Chief Greg Garris.

Garris said the crimes likely occurred between 12:08 a.m., when a cleaning crew left Hwy 55, and 6 a.m., when Hwy 55 owner Adam Moore arrived at the restaurant. Shortly after Moore phoned in the burglary, calls reporting the same came from the other two restaurants, Garris said.

The crimes’ similarity potentially points to the same suspects, according to officials.

“For the most part, it seems like the entry is the same, broken glass, in and out pretty quickly,” said Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Charlie Rose.

Garris said he’s looking into crimes of a similar nature in other areas: also on Wednesday night, the Pitt County Driver’s License Office was broken into in the same manner, and July break-in at a Craven County Hwy 55 closely resembles the Chocowinity break-ins.

“It might not be possibly someone local,” Garris said. “They could be traveling (to commit the crimes).”

Mi Amor’s Pizzeria had an undisclosed amount of cash stolen, while suspects attempted to pry open a filing cabinet at Hwy 55, Garris said.

Garris said investigators have tracked down surveillance footage from nearby businesses, but so far, none has offered any new leads.

Garris asks that anyone with information about these crimes to contact Beaufort County Crime Stoppers by phone, text or through their website. Call 252-974-6400; text a tip anonymously by dialing 274637 on a cellphone and in the body of the message, type BCSO131 and the tip; or submit a tip through the Crime Stoppers website, www.beaufortcountycrimestoppers.com, by following the “Tip Line” link and filling out an online form. Calls, texts and emails are anonymous. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest or the recovery of property in this case. Tipsters do not have to give their name to receive a reward.