BCSO charges man with setting fires, burglary

Published 7:30 pm Thursday, April 26, 2018

On April 2, at approximately 3 a.m., members of the Pinetown, Bunyan and Bath Volunteer Fire Departments responded to a reported abandoned house fire on North White Post Road in the Pinetown area of Beaufort County. The fire was immediately believed to be suspicious and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office responded to begin an investigation.

Approximately two weeks later, at about 9:30 a.m. on April 21, members of the Pinetown VFD and the N.C. Forest Service were dispatched to a brush fire in the area of 1125 North White Post Road. That fire was also believed to be suspicious, as area residents described a suspect seen coming out of the woods near the fire and leaving the area on a bicycle.

At approximately 4:30 a.m. on April 24, an elderly resident of North White Post Road, while sleeping, heard noises in her garage. She armed herself and went to investigate. She saw a man standing at her door attempting to gain entry into her residence. Once the suspect realized he had been detected he turned and ran from the scene.

While the BCSO was investigating that incident, area residents awakened to find someone had broken into their cars and stolen a number of items including money, glasses and cell phones.

Acting on a tip from an area resident, the suspect was identified and located. His residence was searched and multiple stolen items from the car break-ins and from the garage of the homeowner were recovered.

After conducting interviews, collecting the stolen property and interviewing the suspect himself, BCSO investigators charged William Lloyd Russ, age 37 of Pinetown with one count of first degree burglary, one count of burning of other buildings, one count of setting fire to grass or woods, one count of breaking and entering, two counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle and four counts of larceny after breaking and entering.

Russ was ordered held in the Beaufort County Detention Center on a $75,000 secured bond and is likely to face more charges in this case.