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Police: Boredom prompts string of Durham robberies

An 18- and a 19-year-old were charged in a series of robberies and shootings across Durham dating to January. More arrests are expected.

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DURHAM, N.C. — Police on Friday arrested two men in connection with a string of robberies and shootings around Durham over the past nine months, crimes that one of the men attributed to boredom.

Trey Preston Brown, 18, of 2002 Windgate Drive, and Scott Edward Eakes, 19, of 812 Chalk Level Road, were arrested after a search of a home turned up stolen weapons, a bullet-proof vest stolen from a Durham County deputy's patrol car and a stolen Honda motor scooter, police said.

Police Chief Jose Lopez said Brown and Eakes were affiliated with a local gang, but he said it appeared the crime spree wasn't a gang-related activity. One of the men told investigators the pair was simply bored and was looking for something to do, which Lopez said is an indication Durham needs more programs for area youths.

"I think it brings to the forefront the importance of keeping in touch with our kids and being involved in our kids lives to see what they do and who they do it with," he said.

The case remains under investigation, and more arrests were expected, Lopez said.

"Investigators are looking at additional robberies, shootings, vandalisms, motor vehicle thefts and vehicle break-ins that occurred in approximately 60 apartment complexes and neighborhoods in Durham," he said.

Brown was charged with five counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, four counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, eight counts of discharging a weapon into occupied property and one count each of attempted armed robbery, simple assault and injury to personal property.

Eakes was charged with four counts each of aiding and abetting robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit armed robbery and one count each of assault by pointing a gun, possession of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of stolen property.

The charges were linked to a Jan. 12 robbery on Watts Street and attempted robbery on Woodrow Street at Oval Drive, an April 27 theft on Iredell Street, May 21 robberies on Perry Street and Dacian Avenue at Watts Street, and a May 24 robbery on Ninth Street and a May 24 shooting into a McBenson Place home with eight people inside.

"Thank God the bullets didn't connect with some of these individuals," Lopez said.

Brown and Eakes were being held Friday in the Durham County Jail.

Since last fall, police had received numerous reports of robberies by two men driving a silver Toyota 4Runner sport utility vehicle, Lopez said. Tips were called into investigators about the robbers, including a partial license plate number for the SUV, he said.

That led investigators early Friday to search a home, where they recovered a rifle and pistol stolen from a Durham residence, a pistol stolen from a Louisburg residence, a sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun, the bullet-proof vest and the scooter, Lopez said.

Charges also were pending against the pair in connection with shooting at a Durham Area Transit Authority bus on March 6 near Northgate Mall, Lopez said.  More than a dozen people were on the bus at the time, but no injuries were reported.

Other law enforcement agencies also were looking at the two men as possible suspects in other unsolved crimes. Investigators said they think the pair might be linked to crimes outside Durham.

Both men have prior criminal records. Eakes has been convicted on stolen goods and weapons charges – police said he was on probation in Wake County at the time of his arrest – while Brown has been convicted on a drug charge.

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Erin Hartness, Reporter
Pete James, Photographer
Matthew Burns, Web Editor

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