DOBSON — Sheriff Graham Atkinson said that despite the rash of break-ins in the county in recent weeks, law enforcement sees it as more of a cyclical event than an indication of the dire economic climate.
“I think people like to blame it on the economy, but the fact is we’ve always had thieves and always will have thieves,” he said. “It just tends to flare up from time to time.”
The comments come a day after Atkinson issued press releases related to break-ins across the county.
He noted that while news about the recent string of break-ins might be coming fast and hard, incidents tend to happen in spurts.
“At this particular moment, compared to the past several months, we have seen more breaking and entering cases, but that’s typical,” he said. “Normally, when you see a spree of break-ins, there are the same group of people involved and when they get arrested the cases tend to slow down.”
Atkinson said some of the recent arrests announced were the result of investigative work that began shortly after the incidents occurred.
“We’d actually developed credible suspects right away after the break-ins occurred, and have been working to get enough information to charge them,” he said.
Recently-announced incidents include:
• A 37-year-old Dobson man has been charged in a series of break-ins in the Dobson area following an investigation by the Surry County Sheriff’s Office.
Jackie Dean Wilmoth, of 458 Jacob St., has been charged in four break-ins in January and February at three different homes. One of the homes was broken into twice, according to Atkinson.
Wilmoth faces four counts of breaking and entering, four counts of larceny and four counts of possession of stolen property, all felonies.
He has been jailed with bond set at $10,000.
• A Thurmond man was arrested last week after being apprehended at the scene of a break-in on the Reynolds Estate in Devotion.
Atkinson said patrol officers were dispatched to the report of a break-in and found Michael Shawn Butcher, 31, of 234 Blackburn Road, on the scene with some of the stolen property in his possession.
He was arrested and charged with breaking and entering, larceny, and conspiracy to commit breaking and entering.
Butcher also was charged with possession of methamphetamine.
After further investigation, warrants have been obtained charging Abby Wilmoth Jones, 33, of Joe Lane Mill Road, Dobson, and Joshua Lee Coe, 27, of 950 Austin Traphill Road, Elkin, with breaking and entering, larceny and conspiracy.
The pair are believed to be staying in the Jonesville area and are not yet in custody.
• Three suspects are being sought in a break-in at a home on Crotts Road, Mount Airy, in which three long guns were stolen.
Atkinson said warrants have been obtained on two Mount Airy men, and a woman also has been identified as being involved in the incident.
Warrants have been obtained charging Thomas William Butcher, 22, of 173 Fox Run Lane, and Overton Joseph Bennett, 26, of 157 Fox Trot Lane, with breaking and entering and larceny in the incident. The identity of the woman has not been released.
All of the property taken in the incident has been recovered.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.