By VAN HOLLAND
The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Department caught a thief red-handed Tuesday with stolen merchandise when they set up an operation for an undercover officer to purchase a crossbow from an alleged thief.
Deputies caught up with the suspected thief after they had received reports of four vehicle break-ins and a burglary within a quarter mile of the suspect's residence.
During the burglary and car break-ins, various items had been stolen, so deputies set up a sting operation to buy the stolen merchandise from 35-year old Brandon Elliott Griffin of 77 Pleasenton Lane, Rocky Mount.
After receiving tips from citizens, officers put their plan into action and set up an undercover buy. The undercover officer posed as an interested buyer who wanted to purchase a crossbow that Elliott had possession of. Elliott then made the transaction with the undercover for $50 and before Elliott could react, other law enforcement was there on the spot to arrest him.
"The operation was done by multiple law enforcement agencies," Sheriff James Knight said. "I want to thank all the officers involved that helped capture the suspect."
Officers then were given consent to search the property by Elliott. As officers were searching, they recovered stolen knives, martial arts weapons, two crossbows, a GPS system and numerous stereos.
There were numerous firearms that had been stolen in the the area, but they haven't been recovered yet.
Elliott was charged with second degree burglary, four counts of breaking and entering of a motor vehicle, three counts of misdemeanor larceny, larceny after breaking and entering and felony larceny. He was placed in the Edgecombe County Detention Center under a $225,000 secured bond.
Elliott is due back in Edgecombe County District Court court Aug. 7.
Elliott has two prior convictions of larceny in 1997 where he received probation. In 2004, Elliott was convicted in Nash County of maintaining a dwelling to store controlled substances and possession of schedule IV controlled substances where he served time for those two convictions.