LUMBERTON — Two teenagers are among four people who have been arrested in connection with a home invasion early today during which a resident was shot, according to the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.
The men were arrested following a second burglary when they were spotted by two state Highway Patrol troopers who noticed they fit the description of intruders involved in both cases, Maj. Anthony Thompson, chief of detectives said. The second burglary is still under investigation.
According to Thompson, the first burglary occurred at about 12:40 a.m. on Old Allenton Road near Old Whiteville Road. Jeff Smith was asleep inside the home, along with three relatives, ages 8, 11 and 14, when there was a knock on the door, Thompson said.
Smith cracked the door open and several males forced their way inside, Thompson said. Thompson said they took him “through the house, from room to room,” and when they got to the one of the girls’ rooms, one of the intruders — a 16-year-old — shot Smith in the leg.
The men fled the home, taking a shotgun, a laptop and an iPad, Thompson said.
The bullet penetrated Smith’s left leg and entered his right leg, Thompson said. Smith was treated at Southeastern Regional Medical Center and transferred, according to a hospital spokesperson. None of the children were injured.
Less than an hour later, deputies received a call of another home invasion about 10 miles away on Howell Road.
Della Martin, 37, told deputies she heard a knock on her door at about 1:30 a.m.
“She got up and went to answer the door when two … males pushed her back inside, pulled out a gun and started asking ‘where the pills were’,” Thompson said.
Martin told the men she had called police and they left the house, got into a vehicle, described as a gray van, and fired a shot as they were driving away, Thompson said.
Martin provided a description of the men, their vehicle and their clothing for deputies, which was broadcast out to local law enforcement.
Troopers D.B. Strickland and J.A. Jones Jr., with the state Highway Patrol, began looking for the van, according to 1st Sgt. Ardeen Hunt. Strickland noticed a gray Honda CR-V that looked like a small van behind P.J.’s Store on East Second Street in Lumberton.
Jones contacted the Sheriff’s Office and two of the men got out of the van and started walking towards First Street, Hunt said. The troopers stopped those two men and Jones went back to the store to take the others into custody.
“We try to help out and assist local agencies in the area because it’s a team effort all around,” Hunt said. “These two troopers will be commended for their efforts.”
Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office arrived at the store and found the items stolen from the Old Allenton Road home and, with the help of Lumberton police, arrested the four men for that break-in.
Rashad Cruz, 16, of Holly Street, Lumberton, is charged with first-degree burglary, larceny after breaking and entering, conspiracy to commit felony larceny, and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury for shooting Smith. Cruz is being held under a $350,000 secured bond.
Joseph Wayne Hunt, 21; Jaquan Jamar Sinclair, 17; and Kenny Earl Carver, 24, are each charged with first-degree burglary, larceny after breaking and entering and conspiracy to commit felony larceny.
Hunt, who lives in Ivey Park in Lumberton, is also being held under $350,000 secured bond. Bond for Sinclair, of Snake Road, Lumberton, is set at $400,000 secured. Carver, who lives on N.C. 41 North in Lumberton, is being held under a $350,000 secured bond.
Anyone with information should call Thompson at the Sheriff’s Office at 910-671-3100.