Officers stopped a vehicle on Latta Road near Gatewood Drive on Friday afternoon and found the two men inside dressed in black and wearing rubber gloves, police said. Ski masks, several loaded firearms, a hunting knife, a sledgehammer, duct tape and a duffel bag were found in the car, as were a gram of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, police said.
The two men told the officers they were on their way to commit a home invasion in Durham and had stopped to remove the license plate from their vehicle when they were stopped, police said. They also confessed to committing multiple break-ins in Durham, Orange, and Alamance counties in which firearms were stolen, police said.
Christopher J. Anderson, 28, of Haw River, was charged with two counts of possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon, felony possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, carrying concealed weapon, conspiracy to commit a break-in, conspiracy to commit a robbery with a dangerous weapon and breaking and entering.
Benjamin R. Smith, 23, of Hillsborough, was charged with possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon, felony possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, carrying concealed weapon, conspiracy to commit a break-in and conspiracy to commit a robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Both men were being held in the Durham County jail under $65,000 secured bonds.
On Monday night, Durham police Chief Jose Lopez credited quick-thinking officers with the arrest.
The officers who stopped the vehicle were members of the High Enforcement Abatement Team, otherwise known as the HEAT Squad.
"This is what they do. They saw something that was out of line and they went to inquire a little more," Lopez said.
Lopez said that the HEAT squads are placed in districts to address various issues as needed. He's convinced that Anderson and Smith knew exactly who they wanted to target and proud that his officers didn't let that happen.
"If you look at someone who's got fire arms, that's a potential for somebody to be hurt, even killed," Lopez said.