ROCKINGHAM — Police have made three arrests after a monthlong investigation into nighttime break-ins of more than a dozen vehicles in the Sunny Acres neighborhood.
On Aug. 15, four suspects broke into 15 to 20 vehicles, stealing what they found inside, Lt. George Gillenwater said Friday. All of the break-ins occurred the same night.
Gillenwater said the neighborhood was chosen specifically, although police aren’t sure why Sunny Acres was the target. He did not comment when asked whether the vehicles hit were selected or random.
Police also have not released a list of what the thieves removed from the vehicles.
Of the four suspects, Alan Cody Rishel, 24, of Rockingham, was arrested Monday and Wayne Dexter Johnson Jr., 23, and Barry Austin Lynch, 25, both of Rockingham, were arrested Friday.
Police are searching for a fourth suspect, Kenneth Ray Lowery, as of Friday.
The three in custody have been charged with 13 felony counts each of conspiracy, although some of the charges have not yet been filed, Gillenwater said.
Court records show that Rishel alsois charged with two felony counts each of breaking and entering, and larceny after breaking and entering, as well as one misdemeanor count each of injury to personal property and larceny.
Rishel also has pending charges of three felony counts of possession of a precursor to methamphetamine and one felony count each of manufacturing methamphetamine, possessing methamphetamine, and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for keeping and selling a controlled substance, court records show.
Lynch faces one felony count of breaking and entering a vehicle and one misdemeanor count of resisting a public officer. Records for Johnson show only the 13 pending conspiracy charges.
Records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety show that Rishel has no previous convictions in the state, but Lynch, Johnson and Lowery have had multiple run-ins with the law.
Lowery, who remains at-large, was convicted of one felony count of larceny of more than $1,000, misdemeanor breaking and entering, misdemeanor larceny and a misdemeanor count of resisting an officer in August 2010 and served seven months in prison.
In July 2013, he was convicted of one felony count each of breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and larceny of more than $1,000 and served six months in prison, state records show.
Most recently Lowery was convicted in June 2015 of one misdemeanor count of assault inflicting serious injury and, in August 2018, one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon. He was sentenced to probation for those offenses.
Lynch never has been incarcerated but has been convicted of four misdemeanors, including two counts of larceny in January 2017 and January 2018, as well as a cruelty-to-animals charge in May 2013, state records show.
Johnson was convicted of one misdemeanor count of common-law forgery in March 2017, and one misdemeanor charge each of breaking and entering and possessing stolen goods in August 2017, for which he was sentenced to probation.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]