Four arrests were made in
Blowing Rock Tuesday evening in connection with a shoplifting ring operating in the area.
At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 an
alert Sunglass Hut employee, Sara Dillard, alerted police to several suspicious people at Tanger
Outlets Shoppes on the Parkway on Valley Boulevard.
Dillard had previous worked at a store in the Hickory area. She believed that she
recognized a man at her store who had been involved in shoplifting activity in Hickory.
Dillard called police and was able to give a
description of the people and the vehicle that they were driving. Blowing Rock Police officers
arrived and found the vehicle fitting the description, a gold colored Honda Accord in the Tanger
Shoppes parking lot.
Royal and Deyton Turpin soon discovered that one of the suspects in the car was wanted for
probation violation. Officer obtained consent to search the vehicle and found more than $800 worth
of stolen merchandise from seven different stores at Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway. Two of the
suspects were arrested at the vehicle.
Officer Zach Warren who had also responded to the call located a third suspect
leaving the Wilco and a fourth suspect at Tanger with merchandise concealed on his person.
Four persons were arrested in all and
charged with several counts of larceny each. Charged were Randal Scott Jordan Jr., 27, of
Mooresville, Charles Todd Ritchie, 44, of Hickory
Michael Lee Duncan
Jr., 40, of Newton, Matthew Walker Farmer, 31, of Conover.
Employees at the stores where merchandise was stolen were not aware that
anything had been stolen until they were notified by officers and ask them to identify merchandise.
The merchandise ranged from key chains to clothes and shoes.
Some store employees reported that they had
talked to one of suspects as he took merchandise, unaware that he was pocketing the goods.
Blowing Rock officers also recovered
merchandise from other stores outside of the Blowing Rock area. It is believed that the group has
been operating an organized shoplifting ring in North Carolina. The investigation is continuing.
All four suspects were held at the Watauga County Jail on secured bonds.