Photo Gallery | Storage Wars: Police bust suspect in dozens of break-ins in Rowan, Stanly, Cabarrus
SALISBURY - One investigator called Richard Edward Burns a "one man crime spree." Now they hope they've put a stop to a rash of property thefts stretching across three counties.
Early Wednesday morning a Salisbury police officer spotted an SUV backed up to a fence near the Coppertop Store Unit Facility at Airport Road and Airport Loop in Salisbury.
The officer thought the SUV seemed out of place, and that hunch paid off.
When police responded they say they caught Burns red handed, with stacks of property ready to be loaded in the SUV and driven away, and investigators say this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Burns is a suspect in dozens of break-ins from storage units in Salisbury and China Grove in Rowan County, Albemarle and surrounding Stanly County, and Concord and Kannapolis in Cabarrus County.
On Wednesday morning police found burglary tools, including bolt cutters they say Burns used to break into the storage units. Dozens of broken locks were also recovered.
Al Carter, the owner of Coppertop, showed surveillance video that to WBTV that shows a man calmly walking up to a back fence and cutting a large opening in the fence with bolt cutters.
After making the opening, the man walks in and begins cutting locks on the storage units.
Police identified the man in the video as Burns.
Police are putting together a list of all the items they say Burns took. While some of the property will be returned to its owners, some of it will probably not be seen again, according to investigators.
Captain Shelia Lingle told WBTV that she believes some of the items went to flea markets, other items may have gone to crack houses.
The items range from scrap metal to more than two dozen guns taken from one unit in Cabarrus County.
Burns is being held on $25,000 bond.