ZEBULON, N.C. — Police say a routine patrol turned up a pair of suspects in a rash of car break-ins. Those arrests could help close the case on crimes in several counties.
Zebulon police spotted Jason Woodlief and Austin Pittman walking through a Zebulon neighborhood with flashlights. Both men were taken for questioning in connection with a string of car break-ins. Authorities said the suspects would break into unlocked cars parked along the street, in driveways and even under carports.
"We were able to get both suspects to confess to the crimes and we actually recovered a great deal of the cell phones and stolen credit cards -- a lot of the things that were stolen from the vehicle break-ins," said Zebulon Police Chief Timothy Hayworth.
Hayworth said most of the break-ins occurred last week. So far, Woodlief and Pittman are charged with six cases in Zebulon and 12 in other parts of Wake County. They could also face charges for similar break-ins in Edgecombe and Wilson counties.
Officers went door to door, trying to reunite victims like Ralph Alford with their stolen merchandise.
"I've been here 35 years, and I've never had anything missing. It's a good thing I didn't catch him," he said.
"Having those items taken was disturbing, but having such a quick reaction is very encouraging," said Amanda Creek.
Investigators said Woodlief and Pittman were just released from prison on similar crimes. They are now being held at the Wake County Jail on $300,000 bond apiece.
Authorities are working to find the victims to return the stolen merchandise.