Deputies said they are searching for at least two suspects who smashed a hole through the roof of a Pitt County convenience store. It's the second time a hole has been smashed into a business in less than a week, and Pitt County's 14th such break-in within the last year-and-a-half.
According to investigators, the burglars broke through the roof of Belvoir Corner Stop on N.C. 33 in Belvoir, northwest of Greenville. Deputies said they got the call at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
"I think they are realizing that knocking a hole in the wall it takes such a long time to get in [and] going through the roof is less noticeable," Sheriff Neil Elks said.
Investigators said the burglars also left through the roof when the alarm went off. It was unknown what was stolen.
Deputies said they believe this break-in may be connected to the string of other Pitt County hole-in-wall break-ins within the past year-and-a-half. But they said they don't know for sure.
"We're being prepared to track them down. And I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we get them. Uh, it's one of our priorities right now. And game's on," Elks said.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information about the string of break-ins. Callers can dial the tip line at 252-758-7777 and remain anonymous.
Wednesday's incident isn't the first time Belvoir Corner Stop has been broken into. In March, burglars smashed a hole through the store's wall and stole a safe filled with $40,000 in cash, according to deputies. At last check, no arrests had been made in that case.
"I just could not believe it. I could not believe it. I'm just thankful it happened when nobody was here again. And this time they didn't make off with anything. They took a box but the box was empty," employee Brenda McGowan said.
Deputies said this isn't the first time a convenience store has been targeted in a hole-in-roof break-in. Joe's Country Mart on N.C. 33 was targeted in August.