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Four facing charges in metal thefts

Staff report

January 14, 2014

Four area residents have been arrested and are facing charges in connection with the theft of about $50,000 worth of metal from a Pilot Mountain business, according to county law enforcement officials.


Sheriff Graham Atkinson said that on Oct. 16, employees at Fresh Berries, located at 1500 Jessup Grove Church Road, called the sheriff’s office to report the theft of rebar and farm equipment.


“The rebar is used to hold up berries during the growing season and was stored in crates outside the barn during the off season,” Atkinson said. “The barn was also broken into and a fertilizer spreader and plow stolen.”


Detectives from the sheriff’s office tracked the stolen rebar to Lowes Recycling, where they discovered the recycling dealer had purchased all of the purloined reinforcing rods.


After several months of investigation, police said they were able to identify the women who allegedly had sold the stolen rebar as sisters Leslie Ann McMillian, 28, and Tracy Lyne McMillian, 31, of 350 Community Building Road, Pilot Mountain.


Leslie McMillian has been charged with six counts of possession of stolen property, six counts of obtaining property by false pretense and six counts of conspiracy to commit larceny — all felonies. Her bond was set at $11,000.


Tracy McMillian faces six counts of the possession of stolen property, six counts of obtaining property by false pretense and six counts of conspiracy to commit larceny. Her bond as been set at $10,000.


After interviewing the sisters, detectives identified two men who had committed the thefts then taken the items to the women, who sold the items. The men allegedly made seven trips to the berry farm, stealing rebar each of the first six trips, then breaking into the barn on the seventh trip, according to police.


Jeffrey O’Ryan Puckett, 21, of 119 Danaway Lane, Pilot Mountain, and Joseph Bradly Hastings, 31, of 109 Lamar Trail, Mount Airy, were each charged with seven counts of possession of stolen property, six counts of felony larceny, seven counts of conspiracy to commit felony larceny, felony breaking and entering and felony larceny after breaking and entering.


Bond for Puckett was set at $25,000 and for Hastings at $50,000.


The majority of the property has not been recovered, police said.