February 21, 2012

Multiple vehicle break-ins prompt community meeting with sheriff


Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie will meet with members of the Hatteras Island community on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club in Buxton to discuss security after a series of vehicle break-ins over the weekend.

Chief Deputy Steve Hoggard said today that the Sheriff’s Office had received about 33 reports of break-in so far, most on Sunday night and most in the Brigand’s Bay subdivision in Frisco and the Buxton Back Road area.

Most of the vehicles were unlocked. Various items were taken, including cash, change, and electronics, such as cameras, an iPad, and phones.

In one incident on Captain’s Court in Brigand’s Bay, the thieves entered a garage underneath the house to take items from the vehicles inside.

In some cases, nothing was apparently stolen, but it was apparent that someone had been riffling through items in glove boxes and consoles.

Hoggard said no one who made a report saw or heard anything unusual Sunday night, but discovered the break-ins the following morning.  However, strong storms passed through the area with a cold front about 8 p.m. and the rest of the night was very windy – and noisy.

Dare County Criminal Investigator Doug Oberbeck is in charge of investigating the break-ins, and Hoggard said the office has two investigators working “just as hard as they can” on the incidents.

Meanwhile, Hoggard says that the break-ins were crimes of opportunity and that the Sheriff’s Office recommends locking vehicles.

Generally, he said, thieves avoid the noise of breaking into locked cars, but that an unlocked car is easy to go through very quickly and quietly.

A reward will be offered for information that leads to arrests in these cases.  Anyone who has information should contact Oberbeck at the Sheriff’s Office at 252-475-9355 or the Dare Community Crime Line at 800-745-2746. Also call 911 to report suspicious persons or vehicles in your neighborhood.

Travis Cullifer, president of the Brigand’s Bay Homeowners’ Association, arranged the meeting with Sheriff Doughtie, but all in the community are invited to attend.

The vehicle break-ins come on the heels of a rash of breaking and entering into unoccupied rental houses earlier this winter, mostly in the Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo area.

The item of choice for these thieves was flat-screen televisions.

Most of the incidents were in January, and Hoggard says they now total about 40.

There have been no arrests in these break-ins, but Hoggard says the Sheriff’s Office is looking at “persons of interest” who may have been involved in similar thefts in resort communities elsewhere in Eastern North Carolina.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with many other agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Bureau of Investigation.  Hoggard also said patrols were increased in the area of the tri-villages.

Anyone with information on these break-ins is also encouraged to call the Dare Community Crime Line at 800-745-2746.

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