Local News

Woman charged in theft of day care bus

Posted August 4, 2011 12:11 p.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2011 1:07 p.m. EDT

— A Hope Mills woman has been charged with helping her boyfriend and his cousin steal a bus from a day care and cut it up for scrap metal, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said that Jessica Diane Smith, 25, helped Tommy Lee Seals, 29, and Eddie Ray Smith, 19, after they stole a bus from Pamper, Hugs and Luv Daycare Center, 634 Sandhill Road in Hope Mills, on July 20.

The two men took the bus to Eddie Smith's home at 622 Liberty Plank Road in St. Pauls, then repainted the bus, cut it into pieces and sold the metal at various scrap metal garages, investigators said.

Jessica Smith is the girlfriend of Tommy Seals, authorities said. Seals and Eddie Smith are cousins.

Jessica Smith, of 6476 Alamance Road, surrendered to authorities late Wednesday and was charged with three counts of obtaining property by false pretense, accessory after the fact and conspiracy. She has been released from the Cumberland County Detention Center.

Eddie Smith and Seals, also of 6476 Alamance Road, face charges of larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, conspiracy, breaking and entering a motor vehicle, attempted larceny of a motor vehicle and three counts obtaining property by false pretenses. They were being Thursday under separate $30,000 secured bonds.

Seals was placed on probation June 30 after being convicted of possessing stolen goods, according to state Department of Correction records. He has 19 convictions from the past eight years and has served one 11-month jail term for a probation violation.