Carolina Beach Police Solve Record Jewelry Theft Case

Carolina Beach Police Solve Record Jewelry Theft Case Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 22 April 2015 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - 22-year old Brandon Taylor Knight was arrested April 8th, 2015 for multiple charges related to breaking and entering at homes in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach.
Carolina Beach Detective Danny McCullough explained Tuesday April 21st, that Knight broke in and took approximately $100,000.00 in jewelry from three homes in Carolina Beach and one in Kure Beach. Around $90,000.00 worth was located and returned to owners.
He said Knight gave a full confession.
On March 1st, an officer was dispatched to an address in southern Carolina Beach to respond to a report of "breaking and entering." The property owners had left earlier that day and returned at around 1:30pm. When they left all of the doors were locked. When they came back they noticed the front door to the house on the second floor had been pried open. They searched the house for an intruder and didn't find anyone. They did notice a jewelry case scattered on the floor and bed in the master bedroom. They also found a large chisel on a bed in another room.
The officer noticed someone tried to gain entry at another door but wasn't successful. The chisel was approximately 12 inches long and one inch in diameter.
Detective Chris Latham investigated the scene and found the only thing missing from the home was jewelry. Other items like iPads, laptop computers and numerous other valuables were in plain sight undisturbed. Finger prints were collected, photographs taken and the owners were asked to make a list of anything else they discovered missing.
On March 9th Detective Scott Hettinger was investigating a breaking entering case that occurred at a different location. He began a search of pawn shops in Wilmington for jewelry. Hettinger noticed during his search a male by the name of Brandon Taylor Knight who pawned a gold and diamond flat bottom ring. He believed the ring belonged to the March 1st, breaking and entering case where over $100,000.00 of jewelry was reported stolen.
Hettinger identified the circumstances surrounding both cases were almost identical. In the second case the intruder broke in through the front of the house, stole nothing but jewelry while leaving electronics, coins, money, checks and wallets untouched. Then the intruder exited through the back door.
Hettinger visited National Pawn on College Road in Wilmington to photograph the suspected piece of jewelry that Knight had sold. While at National Pawn, Hettinger noticed Detective King with the Kure Beach Police Department. He asked King why he was at the pawn shop and King said he had a breaking and entering case. The circumstances were exactly the same as the cases in Carolina Beach. King searched and found the stolen items that were also sold to National Pawn by Knight.
Hettinger and King met with the manager of National Pawn. The investigation report states, "The manager who advised he knew exactly the person and jewelry that was in question. Returned to the counter with a gold in color flat bottom ring with a large amount of diamonds."
The manager told detectives they purposely offered an extremely low amount for the jewelry at $160.00 but said the value was actually around $10,000.00. According to the investigation report, the manager explained, "They had a very good suspicion that the ring was stolen so they offered the lowest amount possible to limit their loss in case it was actually stolen and was confiscated by police."
Hettinger and King located Knight's last known address. Hettinger was headed to that address when he was contacted by another officer that said he had just spoken to Deborah Knight because he believed she still had a warrant for stealing a television out of a residence recently. He found out the warrant had been served and let her go.
The officer told Hettinger Deborah Knight was walking down South Lake Park Blvd wearing blue jeans and carrying a black jacket.
The officer told Hettinger that Deborah Knight said she wasn't living anywhere and she was "couch surfing" with friends in Kure Beach.
Hettinger and King began surveillance of Deborah Knight in an attempt to locate her address and where her son was staying to possibly locate the remaining jewelry.
As she continued walking down South Lake Park Blvd toward Kure Beach, Hettinger noticed she was walking "very slowly" and "seemed to be without purpose and would stop and look around every so often."
Deborah Knight crossed the street and walked down a side street to Bowfin Lane. She walked out of view of Detectives.
Hettinger noticed there were only four houses she could have gone into since she was not located walking on any surrounding streets.
Detectives Hettinger, King and Detective Miljenovic along with other officers located an unlocked back door at an address on Bowfin Lane.
Hettinger observed Deborah Knight in the downstairs of the house and confronted her about her purpose in the residence. She advised she was hired to clean the house and had a key. Hettinger asked if he and other officers could come inside the residence to confirm that her story was indeed true.
Hettinger walked upstairs and found a bottle of water sitting on the coffee table and her shoes under the table with the television on.
He asked for the owner's contact information to confirm her story. Ms. Knight provided contact information for the owners and said they lived in Raleigh, NC.
While attempting to contact the owners Hettinger asked where Ms. Knight was staying and she said she was "couch surfing right now."
He asked if she had any family in the area and she said a son.
Detective McCullough said Brandon Knight was living in one of the houses he had broken into while the owners were out of town.
Brandon was arrested on numerous charges:
One pre-existing warrant for felony probation violation.
One count felony larceny.
One count misdemeanor larceny.
Six felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.
One misdemeanor count of injury to real property.
Three felony counts of breaking and entering.
One count of felony possession of burglary tools.
Two felony counts of larceny after breaking and entering.
McCullough said everyone involved in the case did an outstanding job investigating and recovering the stolen property.
Knight's bond was set at $150,000 secure. He will now serve time for the probation violation and then return to New Hanover County to face the most recent charges.

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