Former Four Oaks Police Officer Among Suspects In Auto Theft Ring
Posted April 11, 2002 6:25 a.m. EDT
FOUR OAKS, N.C. — Investigators are trying to crack a major car theft ring. Six people in two counties have already been arrested, and one of the suspects is a former police officer.
The State Bureau of Investigation has charged George Holmes III with an elaborate scheme in which they said Holmes gave his car to a local used vehicle dealer, then claimed it was stolen and collected the insurance.
On April 4, Holmes was arrested on insurance fraud and stolen property charges. Officials said he quit his job as a Four Oaks police officer just a day or two earlier. Holmes had been on the force for two years.
In 1993, Holmes was arrested for breaking and entering, a charge that the Four Oaks Police Department knew about when they hired him. The police chief said Holmes broke into his own home during a domestic incident, but the charge was dropped.
Holmes and five other men
are accused of being involved in an auto theft ring.
"They were changing the [vehicle identification numbers] and even changed the confidential numbers on some of the cars, which makes it harder to identify," said Capt. Joseph Gardner of the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.
The other suspects are Albert and Charles Brewer, a father and son who own Brewer Auto in Four Oaks; Daniel Beckett, Ronnie Cole and Eric Cencellewski, all of Wake County.
DMV officers said that they found three stolen vehicles at Beckett's home on Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh.
Officials suspect that five more vehicles that were found at another location were also stolen.
"They've [identified] three vehicles that are stolen. All had altered VIN numbers. We've got five more vehicles we're trying to identify. They have altered VINs and we're trying to ID those vehicles," Gardner said.
The DMV's investigation continues.
Holmes told WRAL that the matter will be cleared up in court.