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Beverly Stanley never expected to get all the items back that were stolen from her home when it was broken into Jan. 4.
But there was one item—worth very little, if anything—that she had to have back: her nine-year-old laptop.
That was not because of its value, but because of what was stored inside, several years worth of family photos. To Stanley, those were priceless.
Some good police work, and a bit of luck, helped her wish come true.
Last Friday, three weeks after thieves stole her memories from her Timber Ridge home, Stanley held the laptop in her hand. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office had recovered it as part of a series of events that led investigators to arrest four men for a series of robberies in Bedford County as well as in Roanoke.
One suspect remained at large as of Tuesday morning.
“I thought people were good and clearly they’re not,” Stanley said of the break-in. “You really feel violated.”
In all, she said $8,000 worth of items were taken from her home and there was $2,000 worth of damage done by the thieves. “It takes me a long time to work (to have enough money) to buy $8,000 worth of items for my home,” Stanley said.
Making the case
Calling it one of the most prolific breaking and entering gangs arrested in Bedford County, Sheriff Mike Brown announced Friday the apprehension of the four suspects—with the additional suspect still at large. The Sheriff’s Office is continuing to search for Nathan “Tug” Nelms of Roanoke; Nelms has Bedford County ties, according to authorities.
At a news conference Friday, Sheriff Brown said investigators had been working up to 20 hour days to put the pieces together to make arrests in a series of breaking and entering cases. The key break came Jan. 17 when BCSO Deputy Sonny Daniels responded to a call of a shooting into a home.
Just before 2 a.m. Bedford County Communications received the call from a resident in the 1400 block of Centerville Road stating unknown individuals had shot into her home. Daniels responded to the area and observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on Belltown Road. Daniels attempted to stop the vehicle and the vehicle attempted to flee.
Daniels pursued the vehicle onto Kincannon Road, where the vehicle wrecked. The occupants of the vehicle fled on foot, and one suspect was taken into custody. A second subject was located by another deputy at a residence near the crash site. Arrested then were Juan Quontell Welton, 20, of Roanoke; and Augustus J. Xavier, 18, of Roanoke. Since then, Durrell Brown and Kenneth Beaner, both of Roanoke, have also been arrested.
Nelms is considered to be the fifth suspect.
“It makes you feel good,” Daniels said of being a part of the investigation.
All of the suspects are facing a variety of charges in connection with the Jan. 17 incident, including attempted armed robbery, attempted breaking and entering, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and wearing a mask in public. Other charges are expected to be filed in connection with a series of break-ins in the county. The Jan. 17 incident apparently involved drugs, Brown said.
“You are always looking for that break (in a case),” Brown said of Daniels’ actions on Jan. 17.
Brown believes Daniels’ response will help solve at least six break-in cases in Bedford County, along with a car larceny, as well as four break-ins in Roanoke. He said the Sheriff’s Office is also working with surrounding jurisdictions in pursuing the case. “I personally just think it’s just scratching the surface (of the crimes that they committed),” Brown said.
The suspects allegedly would go knocking on doors to see if anyone was home. If a resident answered the door, they would ask for directions to Wal-Mart or some other business. If no one answered, it gave them an opening to break in to that home.
Numerous items recovered at one of the suspect’s residences in Roanoke were on display at Friday’s news conference, including lap top computers, flat screen TVs and firearms. Brown said there is a “pickup truck load” of additional items that have been recovered and needed to be sorted.
“We don’t like for these people to come into Bedford County,” Brown said of those who would break into homes. “When it does happen, I can assure you the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is going to be on it real quick. … They were, in every sense of the word, a gang.”
Recovering from the
David and Rebecca Collins of Chamblissburg had their home broken into Dec. 28. It occurred while David was at work and Rebecca was out shopping.
“It’s not a good feeling,” David said of walking in and discovering his home had been ransacked by thieves.
“We just pray it doesn’t happen to anybody else,” Rebecca added, noting that some items couldn’t be replaced—and their peace of mind had been dealt a blow. Among the items the thieves took were firearms, jewelry and money.
The Collinses have since put a gate and fence up to help protect their home. “We’ll get over it; I’m glad they caught them,” David said. “I’ve got to protect my property.”
Anyone having information regarding this incident or Nelms’ whereabouts should call the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-586-7827 or the Crimestoppers Tips Line at 1-888-798-5900.