Sampson Independent

Surveillance photos lead to arrests

Surveillance video has seemingly come in handy once again for a local break-in victim seeking to track down those responsible. Two arrests have made in what authorities called “an air-tight case.”

On July 30, a break-in and larceny was reported at 1326 Church Road, Clinton, the victim saying they discovered over $3,000 worth of tools and other miscellaneous items missing from the location. The victim was able to provide Sampson County Sheriff’s officers with surveillance photos taken from a camera.

”Through the aid of social media, someone was able to identify the person in the photo and investigators were able to confirm that identity,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith, who noted that the photo and name given, when matched with records on file, appeared to “confirm a match.”

As a result of the investigation, Randall Balmer, 27, of 160 Wagner Lane, Newton Grove, turned himself in to investigators at the magistrate’s office last week. He was charged with breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen property.

His bond was set at $5,000. He was given a court date of Aug. 10.

Christopher Lee Barefoot, 26, of 5009 William R. King Road, Newton Grove, was subsequently charged in the case after being located by investigators and taken into custody. He received the same offenses of breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen property. His bond was set at $10,000 secured.

“This is a great example of how community involvement is very helpful in aiding law enforcement in solving crime,” Smith remarked. “The victim’s proactive approach in the use of not only surveillance equipment, but also social media technology, aided investigators with producing an air-tight case.”

The case also mirrors another investigated by sheriff’s authorities in June, in which two suspects were charged shortly after a break-in at a farm on Hayne Stretch Road.

The farm’s owner reported a window air conditioning unit, valued at $100, missing, as well as an estimated $950 in damage inflicted to security cameras and wiring, as well as a door at the building.

Investigators were able to obtain video surveillance of the suspects from the security system and posted a color photo on Sampson County Sheriff’s Jimmy Thornton’s Facebook page. It was shared hundreds of times and investigators were able to identify the suspect in the photo, which led to the other one.

Two charged in Church Road break-in

By Chris Berendt

Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.