Three arrests clear dozens of car break-ins


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police and New Hanover County deputies say three arrests have solved dozens of crimes. The two agencies say they also found thousands of dollars worth of stolen items.

“There was a plethora of different items from change to electronics, stolen weapons, speakers, sunglasses, iPods, just a lot of everything you would find in cars,” Sheriff’s spokesman Cpl. Jerry Brewer said.

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Deputies and police say three men arrested earlier this month stole the items from cars in the city and county.

“Through discussions from the suspects, it seems to be about 100 vehicles that they state were broken into,” WPD Det. Daniel Searle-Spratt said.

Alexander Gongotes, Christopher Madry and Cameron Strauss face multiple counts of breaking and entering. Investigators say they found the bounty after searching Strauss’s home on Cherokee Trail.

“He did have some secret compartments that had stolen goods in it,” Brewer said. “Some paneling that was removed to hide specific items.”

Brewer says the thieves would head out around 2 or 3 a.m. and break into cars parked in residential areas. He says they would go from house to house, but only steal from cars that were unlocked.

“All of the evidence that we found in the house, we were able to use that and link it back to approximately 50 cases in the county,” Brewer said.

Police and deputies encourage all victims of B&E’s to report the thefts, but they say it could all be prevented.

“People really need to lock their vehicles up and keep their belongings under lock and key,” Det. Searle-Spratt said.

Simple advice to help solve a big problem.

Brewer says there are 40 open breaking and entering to houses cases in the Gordon Road area. He says those have all happened during the day.