Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton often credits attentive citizens willing to get involved with helping officers resolve cases, particularly those involving break-ins or the use or sell of illegal drugs. This weekend proved Thornton right, not once but twice, as tips from area residents led to the arrest of two Sampson men on myriad break-in and larceny charges.
Mark Lamb, 47, of 78 Clifford Road, Clinton and Bobby Blake, 28, of 306 S. Church St., Roseboro were taken into custody on separate days and charged with separate offenses.
The thing they had in common was heads-up citizens willing to report suspicious activity.
“This is the precise team work needed between officers and citizens that helps to successfully fight crime,” Thornton stated in a prepared release issued Monday afternoon.
“I would like to commend my officers for their hard work and the citizens that called in the suspicious person.”
The first tip came on Friday, when a resident called in suspicious activity at a Nash Johnson Farm on Hayes Chapel Road near Rose Hill.
A release on the incident noted that the resident noticed a man on a white Ford SUV leaving the farm and traveling down Herring Road. The caller thought it odd and called 911 to report the suspicious activity, then proceeded to follow the vehicle to a residence on Herring Road. The driver, reports note, fled into the woods on foot.
Deputies responding to the call were not able to locate the driver at that time, but an investigation into the matter led them to Lamb, who was picked up later Friday afternoon and charged with breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods.
He is charged with the larceny of an electric fan motor and wire from the farm.
Lamb was placed under a $5,000 secured bond and later released. He’s expected to make his first appearance in Sampson District Court March 14.
March 1 arrest
In an unrelated incident a day later, Blake was taken into custody and charged with felony larceny of a lawn mower, felony possession of stolen property, breaking and entering of a motor vehicle, failure to stop for blue lights and resist, obstruct and delay.
According to reports, his arrest came on the heels of reports of a larceny at Butler Funeral Home and Little Rupert’s Auto Sales in Roseboro. At the funeral home, a John Deere 42-inch riding lawn mower was taken and, next door, at Rupert’s a radio was stolen from a vehicle.
Both incidents occurred sometime between late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
Again, a resident, noticing a suspicious man riding a lawn mower and going door-to-door in the Bass Lake Road are, called in unusual activity to officers.
A release on the incident indicates an officer responding to the complaint located a man riding a mower on Bass Lake Road and activated his lights and siren. The man, later identified as Blake, did not yield to the officer’s attempt to pull him over, driving behind a resident and fleeing on foot.
A brief pursuit followed, but the deputy was able to catch up with the man and detain him.
Detectives were called to the scene to investigate. That probe led to Blake, who it was discovered was on probation, being charged with both larcenies.
He was placed under a $12,000 secured bond and remained in the Sampson Detention Center Monday afternoon. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance March 14.
“I cannot stress enough how thankful I am that citizens of Sampson County have enough confidence and trust in their law enforcement officers to get involved, work with and share information,” Thornton stressed.