WALLACE, DUPLIN COUNTY - Pastor Sam Sumner of Wallace woke up last week to find that his side-by-side four-wheeler was missing. Deputies say he's not the only one who's a victim of a string of break-ins in Duplin County.
"I got up one morning, was walking the dog around the corner, and I saw that my side by side wasn't there, and I wasn't sure if my neighbors were playing a joke on me because that happens from time to time," Sumner said. "Sometime during the night, somebody had evidently come by and stolen the side by side."
Sumner is one of at least three burglary victims in Wallace near the Northeast Road community. Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace says deputies are looking for a male suspect who stole several four wheelers. There have also been reports of lawn mowers and trailers stolen within a mile radius of the Northeast community.
Victims also report that it appears the man unscrewed security lightbulbs outside their homes so he couldn't be seen. Wallace is working with the Pender County Sheriff's office since they believe this man is stealing the same things there.
"These are things that can be easily sold on the black market, and there are a lot of folks interested in purchasing those things," Wallace said.
What Wallace hasn't seen too often -- the man allegedly using a trailer to tow the equipment. Deputies almost caught the man red handed.
"We received a call of some suspicious activity, and evidently the person got spooked and jumped off the four wheeler before the deputy actually saw the person, but we were able to return the property to the rightful owners," Wallace said.
While Sumner hopes his four wheeler makes it home, he's more upset that the crime happened in the first place.
"They feel like they've got to do something like that to get money, to do whatever they need to do or get whatever they need to get," Sumner said. "That bothers me more than my stuff being gone."
Wallace encourages anyone with information to call the Duplin County Sheriff's Office at 910-296-2150. There's also a $1,000 reward for information leading to the suspect's arrest.
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