Trail camera images break larceny/breaking and entering cases

Published 7:19 pm Friday, August 10, 2018

A device commonly used by outdoorsmen and hunters to capture images of game caught a different type of quarry earlier this month at three Beaufort County properties.

According to a press release from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s office, images from trail cameras installed on three properties in the Bath and the Broad Creek areas led to the arrest of two men this week and the closing of five separate breaking and entering and/or larceny cases.

The security measures began when one man who owns property on Jackson Swamp Road in Bath suspected someone was trespassing on his property. The release states that after seeing obvious tire tracks, he installed a trail camera and captured images of the suspect and his green truck.

The victim, who was using the property to store trailers and supplies to refurbish those trailers, discovered some of his supplies had been stolen, including batteries, aluminum plates, shelves and aluminum sheets, the press release stated. On Aug. 2, the property owner reported the theft to the BCSO and provided the images captured by his camera.

On Aug. 4, a second property owner on Creek Road in Bath reported a battery stolen from his tractor, as well as scrap metal taken from his property. The release states that he too had installed a trail camera and captured images of the same truck and suspect and provided those images to the Sheriff’s Office. Both victims were able to identify the suspect by asking others in the community and/or posting the images on social media.

According to the release, on Aug. 7, BCSO investigators charged Linwood Harold Harrington, 36, of Washington, with seven counts of felony breaking and entering, nine counts of felony larceny and one count of misdemeanor damage to property. Harrington was arrested the same day and ordered held on a $45,000 secured bond. Harrington was also tied to the larceny of a peanut trailer on Creek Road in Bath and another breaking and entering and larceny on Camp Leach Road.

According to Vanlandingham, Harrington has since been tied to the theft of a second peanut trailer and will likely face charges in that larceny.

Coincidently, on Aug. 6, a third property owner in the Blount’s Creek area reported a breaking, entering and larceny from his shop on Durham Creek Lane. After being victimized three weeks prior, this victim had also installed a trail camera on his property, which captured clear pictures of the suspect coming out of his shop with stolen property in hand.

The release states that on Aug. 9, after serving a search warrant in Edward and recovering some of the stolen property, investigators charged Johnnie Swindell Baker III, 42, of Edward, with one count each of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny. Baker was ordered held on a $15,000 secured bond.

According to Vanlandingham, property crimes such as breaking and entering and larceny are often difficult to solve, simply because of the lack of evidence left behind for investigators to work with. Generally speaking, he said these cases are usually solved due to surveillance images, witnesses in the neighborhood or items being identified in pawn shops.

“It’s really the victims that solved this case for us,” Vanlandingham concluded.

While security measures can vary wildly in price, from somewhat inexpensive trail cameras to video systems in the thousands of dollars, Vanlandingham says that these can both serve as deterrents to criminals and help investigators if a crime is committed.

“If you can afford it, I would highly recommend it,” Vanlandingham said.