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Smash-and-grab suspect named in 31 crimes

Posted June 27, 2008

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— Police nabbed a man in four overnight burglaries who they believe might be involved in more than 30 other crimes in the town.

Officers responding to break-ins around Crossroads Plaza and the Shoppes of Kildaire early Friday arrested Cleveland Fernando Birdsong, 42, of 108 Lasky Court, Apartment A1.

Birdsong led police on a short pursuit, first on a motorized scooter and then on foot, before they apprehended him.

Investigators said Birdsong committed burglaries at Sheer Elegance Hair Salon and a Verizon store in the Shoppes of Kildaire and Marble Slab Creamery and Great Clips Hair Salon in Crossroads between Thursday night and Monday morning.

Birdsong has also been named a suspect in a break-in at Hot Point Deli, 1284 Buck Jones Road, on Saturday, June 21. Surveillance video shows a man throwing a rock through the glass front door, then forcing open the cash register, taking money and fleeing.

Police also consider Birdsong a suspect in 31 crimes going back to November 2007.

Birdsong faces five counts of felony breaking-and-entering, one count of felony larceny and one count each of felony speeding to elude; resisting, obstructing and delaying a police officer; hit-and-run; careless and reckless driving; and driving with a revoked license.

He could get up to 12 1/2 years in prison if convicted on all those charges.

At his first court appearance Friday morning, Birdsong was given a $101,000 bond. He was being held at the Wake County Public Safety Center in the afternoon.

Birdsong, whose criminal record begins in 1982, was released from prison in October 2007. According to state Department of Correction records, he had served 2 years and 5 months for a conviction for felony breaking-and-entering and possession of stolen goods.

He has been convicted of felony breaking-and-entering eight other times, along with larceny, obtaining property by false pretenses and driving while impaired.

In the past 10 years, Birdsong has spent 7 years and 3 month in prison.

Anyone with information about the break-ins should call Crime Stoppers at 919-226-CRIME or police Capt. Mike Williams at 919-469-4017. Crime Stoppers offers rewards of up to $2,500 for information leading to arrests and indictments.


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  • FonziBeWithYou Jun 27, 2008

    Let me make sure I understand...he got away on a SCOOTER? Seriously? A scooter? And he thought that was the best means to elude police? Oh no wait, he then hopped off and fled on foot - even better!!! I'm sure it was a real HIGH SPEED pursuit!

    And what did he possibly steal from Great Clips????? Scissors?

  • fyiarp Jun 27, 2008

    How about 9 strikes and your out, since three strikes don't mean squat?

  • dwntwnboy Jun 27, 2008

    Give him a choice....military or prison. Should be an option for any criminal that hasn't done bodily harm to anyone. Let them learn some respect and maybe just maybe a trade or job skill they can use in the real world to be a productive member of society. A couple of years in Iraq may make him realize how easy it is to earn a REAL living here in the states. Work hard, make an honest living and become part of the solution, not the problem.

  • InhisName aka CaryCrazzy Jun 27, 2008

    "Officers stopped and arrested Cleveland Fernando Birdsong, 42, of Raleigh, who was riding a motorized scooter in the area."

    Sounds like the High Gas Prices are hiting the criminals bad too.

  • 007KnightRider Jun 27, 2008

    Wow after spending 7 yrs in prison he still didn't learn his lesson. I hope the judge gives him 14 yrs this go round.

  • Adelinthe Jun 27, 2008

    We're crazy in how we deal with repeat offenders here in the US.

    The third time you repeat an offense similar to 2 already committed, you should spend life in prison regardless of what that crime is, i.e. 3x petty theft - do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to prison for the rest of your life.

    Prison overcrowding? BUILD MORE!!! It will give employment to construction workers to build the things and to security guards and kitchen workers afterwards.

    But for God's sake, let's stop giving get out of jail free cards to those who we KNOW are only going to commit crimes again.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Counting Beans Jun 27, 2008

    I kinda like the "Escape from New York" movie idea...

    Build a compound, throw all the habitual offenders in for life, let them fend for themselves...

  • jurydoc Jun 27, 2008

    For those of you who want to "lock him up and throw away the key" as well as allllll the other "habitual felons" out there, where do you plan to put them and how do you plan to PAY for it?? We already lock up more people proportionally than any other country. NC's prisons are already overcrowded and even with the planned opening of a new one, it will be overcrowded on the day it opens! When are we going to learn that an ounce of PREVENTION is worth a pound of cure? Oh, that's right. It is not politically expedient to advocate for prevention programs. One is much more likely to get elected with the "tough on crime, lock 'em up" approach as evidenced by the comments in here. We cannot build our way (with prisons) out of this problem. We have GOT to start looking for alternatives to incarceration, especially for property and non-violent offenders. And in the process, change our perception that a pragmatic approach is somehow "soft on crime."

  • whosonfirst Jun 27, 2008

    "Birdsong has a lengthy criminal record in Wake County dating to 1982"

    I'll bet the record goes further back that 1982. He was 16 at that time and he record was washed clean. The story states he spent 7 years and 3 months locked up over the last 10. What about from 1982 to 1996 - 14 YEARS. He should have been lock up more than 7 years. Hopefully he gets some real jailtime now.

  • 9475346545 Jun 27, 2008

    i saw the hair out of the back of the helmet and immediately thought, "WHOA, VAN HALEN LIVES IN CARY NOW??"