What appears to be an incompetent crook kept deputies busy in New Hanover County early this morning. Investigators believe a vehicle fire and two attempted robberies are all connected. The day started early for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department. By 4:00 am, deputies had already responded to an attempted ATM robbery, a fire, and a break in. They now believe one person is responsible for all three. Just before 2:00 am deputies responded to an alarm at Carolina First Bank on Market Street. It appears as though someone jacked up the ATM machine and actually they attempted to steal the whole machine. No money was stolen from the ATM. Deputies have surveillance video showing a man driving a white Chevy van with a raised roof and maroon decals. A little more than an hour later deputies responded to another call at Southeastern Tile. “Apparently they received an intruder alarm at this facility. Sheriff's deputies arrived on scene and found the vehicle burning next to the building,” explained Deputy Fire Marshall David Heath. The fire spread from the van to the business but was quickly extinguished. Deputies say it was the same van from Carolina First Bank. “Whoever had the van at the ATM went to this other business, probably started the vehicle on fire to try to hide any evidence, fingerprints, or anything like that,” said NHC Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Ed McMahon While crews worked on the fire, deputies received a third call. They responded to a breaking and entering alarm at Airmax Heating and Cooling in Oak Pointe Business Park about a mile away. The glass door was shattered, but nothing was taken. Deputies believe the intruder was probably scared away from the business park by an alarm. Same suspect in all three incidents? Quite possibly. Deputies say they can only describe the suspect as male at this point. All of the incidents are still being investigated.
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