Man charged after $100,000 in firefighting equipment stolen in Sampson County

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Sunday, May 26, 2024
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SAMPSON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A man was arrested and charged in connection with a break-in at the Piney Grove Fire Department.

The Sampson County Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday deputies responded to a break-in at the Piney Grove Fire Department. When investigators arrived, they found over $100,000 worth of firefighting equipment had been stolen.

Due to the loss of equipment, deputies said the fire department had to place one engine out of service and use equipment from other fire stations to remain operational.

Investigators were later able to identify one of four suspects from security camera video and issued a warrant for Amari Smith, 22, of Rose Hill. Investigators said Smith was on house arrest with probation in Pender County, but his monitor had been disabled.

Smith was taken into custody on Friday by the Clinton Police Department after officers said they saw him walking in the Eastover Terrace neighborhood. Smith was then taken to the Sheriff's Office where he was served with multiple warrants, authorities said.

Smith was charged with felony breaking and entering, felony larceny, and felony possession of stolen goods in connection with the break-in at Piney Grove Fire Department. He was also served with outstanding warrants for arrest in Sampson County, Craven County, and Pender County.

He is being held without bond.

The Sheriff's Office said investigators are working to recover the stolen equipment and charge others who were involved.

"Our fire communities work hard to secure much needed life saving equipment to serve their communities. I am angry that individuals would prey on these public servants and hamper their services to our community," said Marcus Smith, Lieutenant in a release.

Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call investigators at (910) 592-4141.