AUTRYVILLE — An Autryville man who finished serving nearly seven years in prison for burglary is behind bars again after allegedly approaching the same elderly man he victimized in 2009, this time taking him hostage in his own vehicle.
On Thursday, deputies received a report of a kidnapping on a 78-year-old male victim on Horseshoe Road around 3 a.m. The victim reported that he went outside to feed his dog and was approached from behind by a male subject. The suspect reportedly robbed him of cash and forced him into the victim’s personal vehicle, kidnapping him, authorities said.
“The suspect later stopped somewhere on Carry Bridge Road and fled from the victim’s vehicle on foot,” Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith said. “The victim was able to identify the suspect as Johnny Ezzell because the suspect robbed the victim over seven years ago and was recently released from prison on those charges. The suspect also knew the victim because he lives less than a mile from him.”
Investigators were able to establish enough probable cause in the incident to arrest Johnny Laster Ezzell, 31, whose address is listed in sheriff’s reports as 219 Pauline Lane, Autryville. Ezzell was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and first degree kidnapping and was booked in the Sampson County Detention Center Thursday evening under $100,000 secured bond.
According to the N.C. Department of Public Safety, Ezzell was convicted in Sampson of first degree burglary in November 2009 — the offense occurred in August 2009 — and was released from prison in April 2016. He was on parole until the end of this year, with his post release status listed as “active,” according to NCDPS.
Court records show an extensive criminal history dating back to 2000. Leading up to his incarceration on the felony burglary offense, he had numerous convictions — all in Sampson — including common law robbery (for which he served nearly a year in prison), multiple larceny, breaking and entering and possession of stolen goods convictions, as well as convictions on charges of communicating threats, drunk and disorderly and speeding to elude arrest.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.