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Criminals Better Watch Out in Johnston County

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SMITHFIELD — The Johnston County Sheriff's Department instituted a plan to reduce the rising number of burglaries in the area.

Sheriff Steve Bizzell started Operation Wolfpack in response to several complaints by rural residents who claim that outlying areas have become a free for all for criminals.

Scotty Lewis says his house was broken into Monday, and that ten of his hunting weapons were stolen. "I don't know who got them, and all of them were loaded," he said.

Operation Wolfpack establishes random checkpoints throughout the area during the holidays.

"The people that go off to work everyday want to come home to safety," Bizzell said. "They don't want to come home to find their door broken or windows busted out, and that's why we're out here."

Residents who get caught in the police web need proper identification, and a clean background to pass safely.

Heather Baker says she does not mind the checkpoints. "As long as you're obeying the law, it shouldn't bother you," she said.

The stops proved to be quite bothersome for several motorists. A check of one man's license revealed he is wanted for violating probation in another North Carolina county.

Adding to Tuesday's arrests, there were 14 others this past weekend at another random checkpoint located south of Meadow.

The plan also calls for Sheriff Deputies to cruise various Johnston County neighborhoods in unmarked cars.

There are several steps that residents can take to help deter criminals:
  • Use dead bolt locks.
  • Cut the hedges and foliage below window level around the house.
  • Use timer lights to turn on lights when the house is vacant.
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    Ken Smith, Reporter
    Mark Copeland, Photographer
    Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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