Three charged in theft of police equipment
The Union County Sheriff's Office has arrested three men in connection with a string of vehicle break-ins and larcenies.
Two of the vehicles that were broken into belong to Mecklenburg County law enforcement officers living in Union County, according to a statement from the Union County Sheriff's Office.
Sgt. Kevin Plyler and Sgt. Ben Baker are credited with breaking the case. Plyler noticed police equipment and riot gear being sold on a local classifieds web page and after further investigation, the sergeants were able to identify the items as being stolen goods.
A meeting was arranged under the guise of purchasing stolen equipment and William Patrick Curry, Jr., 39, of Monroe arrived in possession of the stolen police gear. Further investigation identified Matthews Aaron Johnson, 18, of Indian Trail and Joshua Charles Cornell, 21, of Monroe as accomplices in the case.
Additional stolen property has also been recovered and includes a laptop computer belonging to Porter Ridge High School, according to the statement.
The stolen police gear included helmets, shin guards and vests, which are used as riot gear, Capt. Ronnie Whitaker of the Union County Sheriff's Office said.
Cornell has been charged with the theft of one police officer's duty weapon as well as four counts of breaking and entering motor vehicle, three counts of felony larceny, two counts of felony possession of stolen goods, possession of a firearm by convicted felon and two counts of misdemeanor larceny. Curry has been charged with felony possession of stolen goods. Johnson has been charged with felony possession of stolen goods, felony receiving stolen goods, possession of firearm by convicted felon and obtaining property by false pretenses. As of Friday afternoon Cornell was in the Union County Jail under a $32,000 secured bond and has a Dec. 3 court date. Johnson was and Curry also have a Dec. 3 court date but no bond information was available for them as Friday afternoon, according to a statement from the Union County Sheriff's Office.