LUMBERTON — Two men have been charged with breaking and entering — and Police Chief Michael McNeill credits their arrests to someone who happened to be driving by.
A Lumberton man and woman called police Sunday around midnight when they noticed a bicycle leaning against a car parked on Floyd Avenue, according to McNeill.
“I’m just so glad and fortunate that they called it in,” said Ricky Williams, whose car was broken into along with his father’s that night.
McNeill asked that the callers’ identities be withheld because crime tips are intended to be anonymous, but wanted to say thanks publicly.
“We’re trying to give credit to the citizens and to the community for their quick thinking,” McNeill said.
The man noticed the bicycle and a light gleaming from inside a car outside the home while stopped at a nearby stop sign, Williams said. The first Williams heard that his car had been broken into was when police knocked on his door sometime between midnight Sunday and 1 a.m. Monday.
“I just kind of jumped out the bed and ran to the door,” he said.
Once outside, Williams found that a $119 GPS system and a $25 knife were missing from his GMC pickup truck, according to a police report. The stereo, valued at $200, had been ripped from his Mercury SUV and about $7 was missing, a report said.
At first, Williams was angry.
“We’ve had eggings in the neighborhood, we’ve had spray paint painted on the vehicles, they actually put a stop sign they took from down the block and put it in my truck,” he said, noting he’s been seeing minor crimes in his neighborhood since moving there about five years ago.
When Officer David Bullock and a few others arrived minutes after the break-in was reported, they quickly arrested 18-year-old Eugene Dewitt Bizzell and 24-year-old Desmun Tant’e Locklear.
All of the stolen items were recovered.
“I would like to give my gratitude and thanks to (the officers) for doing such a fine job and stopping these guys from taking things that people have worked hard to get,” Williams said.
Williams said knowing those two people “did the right thing” has given him extra inspiration to do the same.
“I’m going to be watching harder now, knowing that this stuff is happening, seems like to me, between morning hours and late at night,” he said. ” … I’m going to be more aware and if I see the same thing I will definitely take action and call the police.”
McNeill said more and more residents are calling in tips.
“That’s what solves crimes,” he said. “We can’t be everywhere at once … without them, there’s no way we can solve all these crimes that we’ve got.”
Bizzell, who lives on Lee Circle, and Locklear, of Turnpike Road in Raeford, are each charged with felony breaking and entering and misdemeanor larceny. Locklear is also charged with simple possession of marijuana.
Bizzell was also convicted of misdemeanor shoplifting in March. Locklear was jailed in 2010 on robbery charges in Hoke County.
They were each jailed under $5,000 bonds.