FAYETTEVILLE — Investigators in Cumberland County have been busy breaking up burglary rings. In the last week, they've arrested several people they believe are responsible for more than 150 thefts in counties throughout the area.
Investigators believe Robert Wright was the ringleader of a group responsible for the thefts. Police say they arrested Wright while he was selling a stolen computer.
"He sees a house. Maybe it's got newspapers piled up or the yard is overgrown. He walks up to the door and knocks on the door," said Capt. Brad Chandler of the Fayetteville Police Dept. "If there's no answer after five or ten minutes, and no one's looking out the window of surrounding neighbors, he just kicks in the front door, takes what he wants and leaves."
Late last week, Cumberland County investigators busted a different burglary ring they believe is responsible for more than 50 home break-ins in and around the county.
"The east side of Fayetteville, the Grays Creek area, Hope Mills. We've linked them to Sampson County break-ins, Robeson County break-ins, Bladen County, Hoke County, Hope Mills and Parkton," Lt. James Black of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said.
Investigators say the best way to protect yourself is create or join a neighborhood watch group, and record all the serial numbers on your belongings.
"We've got a room full of equipment and we can't give it back to anybody because we don't know whose it is," Chandler said. "They're striking you in the middle of the day and if you know your neighbor, if you have a community watch leader you need to get involved and look after one another."
Investigators say they've made so much headway in this latest case because the man they believe is the ringleader is cooperating with them.
Last year, more than 2,000 homes and businesses in Fayetteville, and 2,400 in Cumberland County were broken into. Statewide, there were nearly 100,000 burglaries.