Smithfield Herald

Smithfield sees spike in business burglaries

A photo of a possible suspect and car involved in a string business burglaries in Smithfield.
A photo of a possible suspect and car involved in a string business burglaries in Smithfield. SMITHFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT

Smithfield is in the midst of a spike in business burglaries, police say.

Among the businesses burglarized in recent months: the Murphy Express and Speedway gas stations, Great Clips Salon, Hardee’s, Lloyd’s Transmission Service, Carroll Pharmacy and Coach, Nike and Levi, all at Carolina Premium Outlets.

A suspect in the Murphy and Speedway burglaries has been arrested. He is Odell Sheffield, 42, of Goldsboro. But the investigation did not conclude with Sheffield’s arrest, police said.

Police think the burglaries are related and were the work of a small group of people. The break-ins took place at night and in the early morning hours, police said.

Investigators are pursuing leads that could lead to other arrests, but police ask residents and business owners to be vigilant and contact police if they see anything suspicious.

Carolina Premium Outlets, home to the Nike, Coach and Levi stores, issued a statement in the wake of the breaks-in there.

“The safety of our guests and employees is always our top priority,” the statement said. “We continue to work proactively to help ensure a safe and secure shopping environment at Carolina Premium Outlets. Carolina Premium Outlets has a close working relationship with the Smithfield Police Department and takes several proactive security measures, including a 24-hour active patrol of the center and surrounding parking lots and escorts to vehicles upon request.”

The police department is stepping up patrols in both marked and unmarked cars.

The department is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrests of those committing the burglaries. Anyone with information should call the police department at 919-934-2121 or the Smithfield Tip Line at 919-989-8835.

Abbie Bennett: 910-849-2827; @AbbieRBennett