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Warrant: Trench coat, saw, stolen goods found in suspect's car after string of break-ins

New documents released Tuesday show how suspects committed a string of business robbers and how an alert Raleigh police officer helped catch them.

Posted Updated

Candace Sweat
, WRAL reporter
RALEIGH, N.C. — New documents released Tuesday show how suspects committed a string of business burglaries and how an alert Raleigh police officer helped catch them.

New search warrants show, in detail, the strategic thought put into deciding which businesses to target.

One of the targeted businesses was an animal hospital, and the owner says it seems as though location was everything.

Veterinarian Joe Gordon found the CareFirst Animal Hospital burglarized on the morning of April 23.

“One of the employees saw that something had happened behind the front desk and cash drawers were out of place,” he said. “You feel violated, almost like a home invasion because the business is essentially a family business and very personal.”

Gordon’s hospital was one of several in a string of Wake County businesses burglarized over a three month period.

According to a search warrant, Bobby Lee Smith and Louis Edward Lyon have been charged in connection with the crimes. The details show a pattern in the type of businesses targeted.

Oak City Automotive on Nowell Road in Raleigh was broken into on April 9 and gun, ammunition and money were stolen.

On May 3, the Metal Depot on New Bern Avenue and Galls, a uniform company on Trademark Drive, were broken into just minutes apart. The warrant said two suspects tried, unsuccessfully, to steal a safe from the Metal Depot but succeeded in taking a cash register containing coins from Galls.

On May 19, a man wearing a trench coat and holding a pry bar stole a cash box from welding company Prazair, on Gresham Lake Road.

On June 19, a suspect entered Magnolia Animal Hospital on Capital Boulevard after breaking a window while a second man waited in a car outside.

On June 25, a suspect broke into Brakes Plus on Jones Franklin Road and the CareFirst Animal Hospital on Tryon Road in Cary.

“My understanding from talking to police is that they were free-standing businesses in buildings by themselves and targeting those because no one else is around,” Gordon said.

According to the warrant, a Raleigh police officer on June 28 stopped a Mercedes with an expired registration that matched the description of the car seen at the scene of the break-ins.

The officer who searched the vehicle found Lyons had been sitting on a black facemask and was holding a small flashlight. Also inside the car were several pairs of gloves, a novelty life jacket for dogs which still had the sales tag attached, bolt cutters, a hand saw and a black, leather trench coat that resembled the one surveillance images showed the break-in suspect wearing.

Since the break-ins, Gordon said he has upgraded his security cameras.

“We have enhanced our camera security in updating the cameras so that we can actually get a better image if someone does break in,” he said.


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