Canton break-ins solved
An inter-agency investigation into a rash of break-ins led to two recent arrests and several felony charges.
Sgt. Shawn Gaddis with the Canton Police Department began investigating the first breaking and entering case at a home on Spruce Street in early December.
The homeowners were out of town, but had asked a neighbor to keep an eye on their house, Gaddis said. The neighbors checked the home that night and then found a window had been broken the following morning.
The suspect stole thousands of dollars worth of several antiques, tools and jewelry, including a class ring worth about $5,000.
Through the investigation, Gaddis found that Leonard Floyd Caskey Jr., 42, of Canton, had pawned some of the items, including the easily identifiable class ring, within hours of the break-in.
In a similar incident, a home was broken into Dec. 22 on Dogwood Drive in Maggie Valley, said Det. Tony Cope with the Haywood County Sheriff's Office. Again, the homeowners were away and a caretaker found a person had broken the window in the front door.
When the owners came home, they found several electronics and easily identifiable antique signs had been stolen. Cope found Caskey had pawned some of those items as well.
"He had the same MO in both incidents," Gaddis said of Caskey's method of breaking and entering the homes.
Caskey has been arrested and charged with two counts each of felony breaking and entering, larceny and possession and obtaining stolen property. He is due in court for those charges Jan. 29.
Cope and Gaddis said the homeowners in these two cases were smart to have a neighbor or friend check on their homes while they were away. Having the reports come in quickly after the crimes made it much easier for law enforcement to identify the suspect.
"If you don't have any neighbors, you need to make sure somebody can come and check on your home for you while you're gone," Cope said.
Another man was recently arrested in connection with a rash of break-ins at home storage buildings in Canton near High Street and Trammel Avenue. Gaddis said he received six similar theft reports during the first week of January.
That same week, Cope also began investigating a case involving a breaking and entering at Canton Hardwood. Video surveillance caught a suspect on tape making away with several items.
Through investigation, Cope identified the suspect as 37-year-old Joshua Mason. During his arrest, detectives found many of the stolen items related to the Canton storage building cases.
Mason has been charged with seven counts each of breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen property. He is scheduled to appear in court March 17.
Gaddis always takes the time to remind people to always lock all doors at home and in the car, as that is an easy way for criminals to access valuable items.
There are ways that people can stay protected even if thieves manage to make away with expensive items, said Cope.
"Document serial numbers on electronics and handguns and take note of any identifying marks on valuables," he said.
That type of information could make a big difference in tracking down stolen items.