Local News

Equipment theft ring busted in eastern NC

Posted December 18, 2012

— The state Division of Motor Vehicles License and Theft Bureau and 19 eastern North Carolina law enforcement agencies have broken up a crime suspect suspected of stealing more than $1 million in lawn and construction equipment, authorities said Tuesday.

Authorities have recovered items worth $537,887 during the two-year investigation. The suspects targeted farm and lawn equipment businesses, construction companies, other small businesses and individuals and primarily stole mowers, lawn equipment, trailers, back hoes, tractors, skid steers and mini excavators.

The investigation started in February 2011 by the Pitt County and Beaufort County sheriff’s offices, and the License and Theft Bureau was called in to coordinate the operation as thefts were reported in more counties. Thefts occurred in Beaufort, Brunswick, Chowan, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Harnett, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Pitt, Wake, Washington and Wilson counties, and stolen equipment was recovered as far away as Mecklenburg County, authorities said.

William Thomas Johnson, 48, and Clinton Gray Dawson, 41, both of Plymouth, each face more than 100 felony counts in the case. Authorities said numerous other thefts in eastern North Carolina have been solved based on their statements and cooperation with law enforcement agencies.

Leon Fitzgerald Davis, 45, of Dunn, is charged with 40 felonies. Michael Anthony Hill, 45, of Windsor, is charged with 15, and Timothy Omar Hankins, 45, of Garner, faces six felony charges.

6 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • Scubagirl Dec 19, 12:30 p.m.

    At least this time the headlines and etc is correct! THANK YOU!

  • Rebelyell55 Dec 19, 8:27 a.m.

    Wonder how you can find out what was recovered, I've still not located or heard about my stolen trailer. Except I use to get a mailing wanting to know if I've found it yet or not from the Sheiff office.

  • more cowbell Dec 18, 4:01 p.m.

    Many more stolen items can be found in the local area pawn shops. That's where I go to recover many of out company's stolen construction tools. Arrow Pawn and Jewelry is one of the finest.

  • superman Dec 18, 3:56 p.m.

    Stealing is the first step. The second and most important thing is who do they find to purhase the equipment. Was it stolen for personal use. How did they turn the stolen equipment into cash. How about going affter the people who purhased stolen equipment. Is this the end of their investigation? They dont care who purchased the equipment.

  • haleibc Dec 18, 3:56 p.m.

    And it took two years to compile enough evidence to bring charges.

  • Scubagirl Dec 18, 3:40 p.m.

    "law enforcement agencies have broken up a crime suspect suspected ......."

    boggles the mind........READ your stories before posting them.