The Latest: Chance plays major role in B&E arrests

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, June 8, 2017

Three Washington men face multiple breaking and entering and larceny charges and the sheriff’s office is now looking for the rightful owners of a stash of stolen goods.

Christopher George Mason, 33, David Aksel Bunch, 27, and Brandon Keith Manning, 31, were recently arrested and charged with a string of break-ins in Yacht Club Cove and Country Club Estates over the weekend of May 20. Fishing gear, wake boards, golf clubs, lawn and garden power tools and construction power tools were all reported stolen by homeowners, stated a press release from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Investigator Jim Vanlandingham, head of the sheriff’s office investigative division, it was someone realizing he’d gotten too good of a deal at Poor Man’s Flea Market that led investigators to the three men charged.

“He bought some fishing rods and paid a fraction of what they’re worth,” Vanlandingham said, adding that once the man got home with his purchases, he went online and looked up the sale prices of the rods.

“He realized they sold for about 300 bucks,” Vanlandingham said.

Vandlandingham said the buyer then spoke to his grandson, who happened to a friend of one of the Yacht Club Cove victims. While the rods didn’t belong to the friend, they did belong to a neighbor, Vanlandingham said.

“He was able to describe the person he bought them from and the van he was driving. … It just kind of snowballed from there,” Vanlandingham said. “It was kind of just luck.”

On May 24, at about 4 a.m., deputies located the suspect’s vehicle parked in a secluded area near the Washington Yacht & Country Club, the release stated. The next morning, residents discovered more break-ins, which ultimately led to the trio’s arrests.

“Obviously, the pattern was to hit a certain neighborhood,” Vanlandingham said. “It was productive for them. They could get a lot of stuff in one night.”

Some of that stuff has been located by sheriff’s office investigators, and now they’re looking to reunite stolen property with its owners: fishing equipment, wake boards, kites, lawn and garden power tools, construction power tools, automotive stereos and GPS systems, Play Station game systems and camera equipment are included.

“A lot of the stuff (Mason) had in storage. He had it stored in an old bus in a junk yard in Pitt County, not far for the flea market,” Vanlandingham said.

Mason has been charged with seven counts of felony breaking and entering and eight counts of felony larceny after breaking and entering; Bunch and Manning have been charged with nine counts each of felony breaking and entering and nine counts each of felony larceny after breaking and entering. Mason was ordered held on a $40,000 secured bond; Bunch on a $25,000 secured bond; and Manning, on a $100,000 secured bond.

Vanlandingham said investigators also are looking into whether a string of break-ins in the Rosedale neighborhood and others on River Road are related.

Those who believe their property could be among the confiscated items now at the sheriff’s office are being asked to call investigators at 252-946-7111. Callers will be asked to describe their property with as much detail as possible, Vanldandingham said.