Report of suspicious vehicle leads to arrest for thefts

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A report of a suspicious vehicle has led to multiple counts of larceny.

Early on the morning of Sept. 21, deputies with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigated a phoned-in report of a truck parked near a boat storage yard in the Chocowinity community of Cypress Landing, where they found Jason David Tolley, 31, sleeping in his truck, according to a sheriff’s office press release. After finding several pieces of jewelry and mail belonging to a Cypress Landing resident, along with cocaine, a month-long investigation led to the discovery that Tolley had been pawning stolen jewelry in Beaufort, Pitt and Craven counties, according to the press release.

“We’re still trying to narrow down the time period, because we’re still trying to nail down the property,” said Lt. Jim Vanlandingham, head of criminal investigations with the sheriff’s office. “But we can tell from the pawn tickets that he was pawning jewelry as far back as April of this year.”

Vanlandingham said the mail belonged to Cypress Landing residents who were out of town, only to return to find someone had broken into their home. A firearm had also been stolen and Tolley allegedly used the victim’s credit cards.

“The mail he took — I think that’s the same victim that he used their credit card. Bad choice on his part, because that’s what led us to a break in the case,” Vanlandingham said.

Vanlandingham said while some of the jewelry has been traced back to its rightful owners, many pieces have not been located.

“Some of the stuff, we discovered the pawnshop doesn’t have anymore,” Vanlandingham said.

“Some pawnshops end up selling it for gold — so some of that stuff has been sold or scrapped out.”

Pawnshops are required by law to report to law enforcement the items purchased from the public. Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office receives printed receipts from the local pawnshop but tracking down items sold in neighboring counties can be more difficult.

Tolley has been charged with seven counts of felony breaking and entering, seven counts of felony larceny after breaking and entering, one count of larceny of a firearm, one count of safecracking, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of financial card theft, one count of identity theft and five counts of obtaining property by false pretense.

Vanlandingham said Tolley will likely face more charges of felony obtaining property by false pretense in Pitt and Craven counties for the pawning of items at pawnshops located in those counties.

Tolley is being held in the Beaufort County Detention Center on a $165,000 secured bond.