HAMLET — Police have captured one suspect and are searching for a second man after they say the pair burrowed into a store through an air conditioner early Sunday.
Juarice Levon Terry of Marston was arrested after Hamlet police responded to a security alarm at Big Apple Hi-Fashion on Raleigh Street. The second suspect remained at large Monday night.
Police said they found Terry a short time after the break-in, hiding in a restroom at the Shell Food Mart on Spring Street. Several items from Big Apple Hi-Fashion were in his possession when he was apprehended, according to police.
He is charged with breaking and entering and larceny and is being held in the Richmond County Detention Center under a $5,000 secured bond.
Initially, authorities and the business owners thought Terry was the only suspect in the break-in, but when the owners reviewed security camera footage late Monday, two men were seen lurking around the outside of the store and moments later together inside the store, emptying a cash register and taking a money bag and removing items from the glass display case at the front counter.
“They came in through the AC unit,” said employee Randy Gomez. “They pushed it through into the store and crawled through the hole. They took items from the display case, mainly jewelry and phones. But one of them shattered the glass to the front door to get back out.”
The door had been repaired and the air conditioning unit put back in place late Monday.
Riaz Ray, Gomez’s father and store manager, believes the second suspect got away by going back through the air conditioner hole in the back of the store.
“The police got here and the one they caught, they saw him out front and caught up with him at the gas station,” Ray said. “But they didn’t see the other one. I hope they get that second guy soon. This is the seventh time in about two years we’ve been broken into.”
Ray also said that the store has top-notch security in place.
In addition to jewelry and phones, the two men are seen taking money from the cash register. Ray estimates the store is missing between $3,000 and $4,000 in cash.
Anyone with information about the second suspect’s identity or whereabouts is asked to contact the Hamlet Police Department at 910-582-2551.
Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-997-3111, ext. 15.