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Man Arrested In String Of Johnston Pay Phone Thefts

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JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — Officials have made an arrest in a string of pay phone thefts.

Investigators arrested Howard Evans, 43, while they say he was trying to break into a soft drink machine at a gas station near McGee's Crossroads at about 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Officers found circuit boards, that were determined to be pay phone parts, inside Evans' car.

After searching his residence, they found 48 phones throughout the house, including the attic, crawl space and an outside shelter, according to Sheriff Steve Bizzell.

Bizzell said many of the phones had been sawed, cut or broken.

Investigators said Evans drove around in the middle of the night taking the phones from businesses in Wake, Johnston, Harnett and Nash counties.

Now that investigators have recovered the phones, they need to find out where each of the phones came from to figure out where Evans will face charges.

"We've got to unload all the phone booths, get the serial numbers and determine the locations they came from," Bizzell said. "This investigation is definitely ongoing."

Investigators said Evans was unemployed and believe he took the phones to support a drug habit.

Bizzell said each phone is valued at over $1,500 with just equipment alone, not including the money inside.

Some phones had as little as $1 and as much as $200 in change.

In addition to charges for larceny of the pay phones and attempting to break and enter the vending machine, Evans also has three outstanding parole violations, Bizzell said.

Evans is being held in the Johnston County jail on $31,500 bond.


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