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Thief's Careful Entrance Spoiled By Clumsy Exit

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GOLDSBORO, N.C. — A clumsy exit tripped up a thief, who is charged with breaking into a Wayne County convenience store and setting it ablaze to cover his tracks.

As deputies responded to a burglary alarm at Fat Daddy Fastway Convenience Store, at the intersection of N.C. Highway 13 North and Artis Road, at about 2:40 a.m. Monday, someone called to report the store was on fire. A deputy driving to the scene saw a man running while pushing a shopping cart along Artis Road, authorities said.

The man then left the cart behind and started running, and a deputy apprehended him after a brief chase on foot, authorities said. The shopping cart was found to be filled with about $11,000 in North Carolina lottery tickets, cigarettes, cash, candy and playing cards.

Firefighters from the Saulston, East Wayne and New Hope fire departments put out the fire, which caused an estimated $150,000 in damage, authorities said.

"Pretty much everything -- I mean everything, from what I can tell -- is gone," convenience store owner Terry Mooring said.

The stolen lottery tickets weren't even activated, which made them worthless for anyone trying to redeem them, Mooring said..

"This was really uncalled for. I wish he'd just gotten what he wanted an left because he's caused a lot of problems," he said.

Investigators said the thief entered the store through a back bathroom, removed a medicine cabinet and cut a hole in the wall to climb into the store. He didn't set the alarm off until he broke through the back door to get the cart out, authorities said.

Michael Paul Grady, 24, of 731 Watery Branch Church Road in Stantonsburg, is charged with felony breaking and entering, larceny and burning of a store in connection with the incident. He is being held in the Wayne County Jail on a $100,000 bond.


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