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PRESS RELEASE (4-1-22):
Arrest Made in Recent Benson Vehicle Break-Ins
In the early morning hours of March 30, 2022, the Benson Police Department responded to multiple reports of unlocked vehicles being entered and gone through in the Boardwalk subdivision — with several items including wallets, purses, currency, and firearms being taken. Additionally, a vehicle was also reported as being stolen.
While officers were on scene, they walked the neighborhood and discovered additional vehicles that had been gone through, and in total, twelve residents were victimized.
After a joint investigation involving the Dunn Police Department and the NC State Highway Patrol, multiple charges were filed against a suspect on March 31, 2022.
Vernon Smith, of Raeford, was charged with 12 counts of Breaking & Entering a Motor Vehicle, 2 counts of Larceny of a Firearm, and 1 count of Larceny of a Motor Vehicle. He received a $500,000 Secured Bond for the fifteen felony charges, and remains in custody at the Johnston County Jail.
“While I’m disappointed that Boardwalk residents were apparently targeted, I am pleased that we were able to quickly identify one of multiple suspects, and link him to these acts. Our officers and Lt. William Brown worked all day Wednesday to thoroughly document these incidents, and also search for evidence, and those efforts resulted in the identification of Mr. Smith,” Benson Police Chief Greg Percy said.
“Lt. Brown also collaborated with the Dunn Police Department and the NC State Highway Patrol, who both had encounters with Mr. Smith that same night, and together they were able to locate and recover a portion of the stolen items, which is an example and benefit of the close working relationships we enjoy with other nearby agencies,” he added.
The investigation remains ongoing, and additional charges are possible.