GARNER, N.C. — In its first week in use in Wake County, the NCAWARE (North Carolina Arrest Warrant Repository) system helped police determine that a suspect in one crime was wanted for several others.
Donald Reed Evans, 47, of 525 Bragg St. in Raleigh, and Johnny Howard, 47, of 1113 Holman St. in Raleigh, were arrested on Friday after police said they stole two catalytic converters from TT&E Iron and Metal, 1529 West Road in Garner, and attempted to sell them back to the company as scrap metal.
Authorities said a crane operator at the company noticed a man acting suspiciously in the area around noon. Management also viewed the man on some of the 32 surveillance cameras on the premises.
Surveillance video showed the man tucking two catalytic converters under his left arm and getting into a minivan.
“Those were probably worth between $60 and $100 a piece,” said Scott Thompson, co-owner of TT&E.
The driver of the minivan then drove back into the facility in an attempt to sell the items back to the company.
Thompson said he withheld the payout until police arrived.
Authorities used the NCAWARE system to check if the men had outstanding warrants across the state.
Officers found Evans was wanted in Cary on larceny charges. He is accused of stealing nearly $170 in merchandise from Sears, 1105 Walnut St., on April 30. Evans was wanted for another larceny charge in Wilson after police said he stole $225 worth of copper wiring belonging to the city.
Prior to NCAWARE, law enforcement did not have a universal way of looking up information on outstanding warrants from across the state. Officers said before the Web-based system, suspects with minor charges may have been let go.
Now officers can find and print warrants on the spot through their computers.
“It actually worked out very well,” Garner Police Sgt. Joe Binns said.
All counties are expected to be using the system by the end of 2010.
Evans and Howard each face charges of obtaining property under false pretenses stemming from the TT&E arrest. Evans also is charged with larceny and resisting a public officer.
NCAWARE is a custom-developed, web-based program that was designed, written, tested and implemented by the judicial branch’s N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. The office also trained law enforcement officers and court personnel to use the system.