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Thursday, April 28, 2011
Arrests Made As Appliances Are Returned
Nancy Drury Duncan
ACCOMAC -- Two men who apparently tried to take a number of appliances from a used furniture store in Accomack County got more than they bargained for.
The heist ended with the store's owner holding a shotgun on the suspects until police arrived.
Storm Carter, 61, of Keller and Joseph Washington, 35, of Nelsonia, were found guilty of grand larceny in Accomack Circuit Court by Judge A. Bonwill Shockley.
The suspects were seen driving away from behind the store one night last June by store manager Jean Jones, who had dropped by.
She had her children in her car, she said. She said the truck and a flatbed trailer were filled with items belonging to the business, and she followed as it quickly drove away.
She called police and her father, the owner of the business, as she pursued the truck. Finally, the men stopped, walked back to her car and apologized to Jones, saying they would take the items back.
"They did go back," Jones said. "They started throwing thing off the truck and trailer really fast."
The items were described as a large steel air handler, used air conditioners and metal appliances as well as metal storage shelving that was bought to go inside the building to hold pallets of merchandise.
"They even took our appliance cart to load the stuff up with," she said.
Her father Andrew Willey, arrived as the men were throwing the items off the truck and trailer.
He testified that he went into his building and came out with a shotgun that he held on the men until police arrived.
"They did not attempt to leave?" defense attorney Terry Bliss asked Willey.
"Would you leave with a shotgun on you?" he asked back, causing the courtroom to erupt in laughter.
Bliss argued that her client thought it was a junk pile and didn't mean to steal. Garrett Dunham, attorney for Washington, said the crime was not grand larceny because it was hard to put a value on the items, which were not new.
"It is pretty hard to get around the fact that this was on someone else's property," said Shockley.
"Sorry guys, both guilty of grand larceny. If they thought it was junk, all they had to do was call up and ask if it was junk and offer to haul it away," she said.
Both Washington and Carter were allowed to remain free on bond until sentencing.