Sometimes clues that a cop needs are right in front of him – on video

Shawn Benjamin Campbell
Shawn Benjamin Campbell CCBI

Police detectives investigating a heist at a Golden Corral restaurant last week got a quick break. Security video showed a man wearing a Golden Corral backpack, knowing how to open the store's safe and wearing shoes that the manager recognized.

In less than 24 hours, police interviewed and then charged Shawn Benjamin Campbell, 30, with felony breaking or entering and felony larceny and found $9,356 in cash in his girlfriend’s car, according to a search warrant for Campbell’s room at an Extended Stay America hotel on Wake Towne Drive.

Police returned the completed warrant to the Wake County court clerk’s office on Thursday.

Detective R.L. Torrance, who asked for the search warrant, said patrol officers found a broken window Jan. 24 in the restaurant at 3424 Capital Blvd.

They also found the store safe open, but undamaged.

When they reviewed security video, Torrance said, they saw a man carrying a Golden Corral backpack that every new employee gets.

The man went to the safe and used a key and code to easily open it “without any hesitation, as if they knew how to work the safe from experience,” Torrance wrote.

When the restaurant manager looked at the video, the detective said, he recognized the thief’s shoes as being like ones that Campbell wore for work.

The manager said Campbell had a key to the office where the safe is and knew the combination, Torrance told the magistrate that granted the search warrant.

The store lost more than $26,000 in the break-in, police said. The warrant did not indicate that police found any more than was in the car.

Campbell has a court appearance in the case scheduled for Feb. 15.

Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT