Break-in suspect returned to crime scene

By Tom Joyce -


Sometimes suspects return to the scene of a crime, which occurred this week in Mount Airy when a man was charged with allegedly breaking into the same house twice.

Paul Barker, a city police department detective who made the arrest, Thursday credited the alertness of neighbors in leading to the apprehension of Robert McNeil Pardue, 42, of 108 Knob Drive, on break-in and drug charges. He was being held today in the Surry County Jail under a $35,000 secured bond, according to detention personnel.

The first break-in of the residence Pardue allegedly targeted, which is located on Galloway Street, had been discovered Monday, with Brandi Lee Cote of Carroll Street listed as the victim.

Thousands of dollars’ worth of property was taken from the home, which was unoccupied as the result of a fire. Included was a Trane air-conditioning unit valued at $6,000, along with other appliances with no value listed: a Whirlpool refrigerator, Samsung electric stove/oven and a Black & Decker toaster.

Also taken were a charcoal grill, a leather UNC grill cover, a wooden electric fireplace, a 20-pound air tank, a stereo, two speaker cabinets, a white Mongoose bicycle and three plastic bike helmets.

Then on Tuesday, Pardue allegedly returned to the scene.

“We actually caught him inside the residence a second time and made the arrest,” Barker said of himself and fellow detective Brandon Davis. “He was in the process of stealing other items.”

Through their investigation, the detectives were able to link the suspect to the earlier break-in at the Galloway Street residence.

But Barker says much credit is due to neighbors who noticed the same suspicious vehicle at the site on both occasions.

“We had actually talked to people in the neighborhood, and we had received telephone calls from people in the area that the vehicle that was there prior was back at the residence.”

It also helped that the detectives were in the general vicinity of the neighborhood when that notification came, on Pine Street, and ironically were involved in the investigation of the first break-in at the time. ‘“We went right up Riverside Drive and made the arrest,” Barker said.

Pardue has been charged with two counts each of felony breaking and entering and felonious larceny.

Subsequent to his arrest, drugs allegedly were found, leading to additional offenses of possession of methamphetamine, also a felony; possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance; and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Pardue further was found to be the subject of an outstanding order for arrest for a probation violation, which had been issued on March 30. He is scheduled to appear in Surry District Court on May 4.

In addition to the detectives’ preventing of further property from being stolen in the second break-in, a portion of that taken during the first crime has been recovered.

Barker said the arrest is a testament to the value of alertness by residents to the goings-on in their communities and a quick response if they notice suspicious activity.

He said this can be invaluable in solving crimes. Even if a tip about a perceived act of wrongdoing turns out to be unfounded, police would rather receive a call and face that prospect rather than have nothing reported and a crime be committed, Barker added.

“It helps so much when people care about their neighbors.”

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.


By Tom Joyce

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