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In what sounds like a plot summary to a “Dukes of Hazard” episode, a real life incident in North Carolina featured a stolen forklift that played a central role in a series of crimes conducted over a long weekend last month.
Police in Cary, North Carolina, said two men are behind bars and the stolen forklift has been recovered, but not before pair used the vehicle to cause thousands of dollars in damage and steal hundreds from several area businesses.
Steal Forklift, Break Stuff
The incident began January 11, when two men — later identified as Quadir Bryant and Robert Mannings, both 23 and who shared an apartment in Cary — broke the property of building contractor JM Thompson and stole a forklift.
The pair crashed the forklift through the business’s front gate, then drove it next door to an auto repair shop, where they used its forks to force open a metal roll-up door, according to WTVD-TV, the ABC affiliate in nearby Raleigh, North Carolina. Once inside, they vandalized the business and stole a car, according to police.
The Forklift Getaway Car
Using the stolen forklift as a getaway car, one of the two men then drove it down Chatham Street, one of Cary’s main business thoroughfares, and targeted several other businesses, including:
- The Thrift 2 Gift store, where they forced open a window and stole money from cash registers and ripped a video recorder from the business’ surveillance camera system.
- East Hair Studio, where they stole money from a petty cash fund and broke a window
- Madsen Motors, where they first stacked tires in an effort to access a second floor office, then used the forklift to lift one of the men so he could use rocks to break out the office’s window. But when this set off a burglar alarm, the pair fled.
The pair also targeted Economy Storage, Black Forest Industries, and Cary Mower and Saw, according to the newspaper Cary News.
Not Done Yet
The two men then apparently used a 2014 Chrysler they had stolen earlier to ram an ATM machine at another business, but the ATM’s built-in camera was able to take a picture of the pair.
The pair also was charged with stealing leaf blowers form a landscaping company’s truck on January 19. The forklift was not believed to have been used in that theft.
It wasn’t until Feb. 4 that police finally caught up with the forklift bandit after they allegedly broke into a Valero service station and stole $200. At the time of their arrest, they were served with three other warrants stemming from January crime spree.
More Charges Possible
The pair also are suspects in a series of other unsolved crimes, according to Cary Police Captain Randall Rhyne.
“Our investigation into their activities is continuing,” Rhyne said.
Meanwhile, both suspects are being held at the Wake County jail, where they await trial on seven counts of felony breaking and entering and four counts of larceny after breaking in. Bail has been set at $150,000 each. While police listed a Cary address for the two men, the warrants stated that they lived in Delaware.