A man told officers he stopped at a convenience store in the 900 block of Fayetteville Street to get gas around 2:15 p.m. on June 7. He left the car running with his two children - ages 4 and 9 - inside and went in the store to pay for the gas. When he came back outside, he realized the vehicle had been stolen.
The children were found unharmed a short time later in front of a business in the 1000 block of East Pettigrew Street. The car was found abandoned in the 3700 block of Angier Avenue.
Terryon Lamont McEachin, 23, of Kristy Place was charged with one count of larceny of motor vehicle and two counts of kidnapping.
McEachin was also wanted in connection with the theft of at least 10 vehicles in recent weeks. Investigators say he hired several tow truck companies to tow vehicles to local salvage yards without the vehicle owner's knowledge or permission. McEachin then sold the vehicles to the salvage yard, paid the tow truck driver, and pocketed the rest of the cash, according to officials.
The scheme involves scouting Durham neighborhoods for older model vehicles parked in the driveway or yard of homes. Deputies said McEachin then speaks with the property owner and discusses the possibility of buying the vehicle. Instead of returning with payment for the legal purchase of the car however, McEachin comes back with a hired tow truck and simply steals the vehicle.
Sheriff's investigators do not believe any of the tow truck companies McEachin hired are complicit in the thefts.
Many of the cars and trucks McEachin is accused of stealing were more than 10 years old. Salvage yards and metal recyclers may purchase vehicles without a certificate of title if the vehicle is more than 10 years old under North Carolina state law. Salvage yards must, however, maintain numerous records for such purchases, and such records allowed investigators to link McEachin to these recent vehicle thefts.
McEachin turned himself in to the sheriff's office Thursday afternoon. He is being held in the Durham County Jail under a $245,000 bond for charges related to both the salvage yard scheme and car theft/kidnapping.