Thursday, August 2, 2012

Iredell County Sheriff Busts 5-Man Burglary Ring

Five people have been arrested in connection with a major burglary ring, according to Iredell County authorities, who worked with law enforcement from at least 7 other North Carolina counties to apprehend the suspects.

The group is suspected to have been behind over 40 burglaries in North Carolina, including 8 counties spanning, from McDowell to Union.  Though the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office claims the ring involved 6 people, only the arrests of 5 suspects have been made public.

Keenan Wade Hildebrand was arrested in Statesville on July 3rd.  About two weeks later on the 19th, Christian Dean Ser Catarino and Jessica Brady were arrested in a hotel in Charlotte.  Finally, on July 24th, John Willard Blackwelder and Trisha Marie Nelson were apprehended at the Conover Wal-Mart in Catawba County.

The arrests stem from an Iredell / Rowan County Sheriff’s investigation in which stolen goods were recovered in Statesville at both the Quality Inn and the Advantage Mini Storage on July 3rd. This led to the arrest of Hildebrand, who is currently in an Iredell County jail.  According to investigators, they recovered stolen goods valued at over $20,000, including firearms and jewelry.

The success of the July 3rd search led investigators to the remaining suspects.  After a disturbance at a Charlotte hotel, Catarino and Brady were arrested, with Catarino being charged with possession of a firearm by a felon.  Following their apprehension, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police notified Iredell County officials of the arrests, where Brady was taken to Iredell County jail as Catarino remains incarcerated in Charlotte.

Blackwelder and Nelson were found days later at the Conover Wal-Mart, with assistance from the NC Highway Patrol and Conover Police.  The couple, now jailed in Catawba County, was driving a stolen car.  Inside the car were stolen goods including firearms and items connected to a Mooresville burglary.

Iredell County authorities have asked that anyone who might have been a victim of these burglaries and who may be able to identify stolen items to contact the agency where they filed a burglary report.