Revised on: 10.10.2018 at 01:33 p.m.
Posted on: 10.10.2018 at 11:00 a.m.
By Jefferson Weaver
An alert neighbor – who happens to be a law enforcement officer – helped solve a break-in and seized a “large quantity” of drugs from a man who was allegedly stealing pet food donated for hurricane relief.
Roger Hammonds, 23, of 425A S. Franklin St. Whiteville, was arrested by Whiteville Police at his home Friday. He was charged with trafficking in opiates, felony possession of cocaine, and breaking, entering and larceny. His bond was set at $51,500, according to jail reports.
The theft occurred Friday evening at Brandy’s Bubbles and Bows on West Walter Street. Major Alan May of the Whiteville Police said Sgt. Aaron Herring was off-duty at a nearby business around 6:40 p.m. when he noticed Hammonds leaving the dog salon carrying bags of pet food. Herring contacted 911 Center, with Hammonds’ name, direction of travel and description.
WPD officers responded to secure the premises, May said, and went to Hammonds’ address. They found him nearby, and upon questioning he confessed to entering the business. Additionally, further investigation found Hammonds in possession of a large amount of narcotics and associated paraphernalia.
Brandy Rogers, owner of the dog salon, has been handing out thousands of pounds of donated pet and livestock feed since the hurricane. She spent much of the first two days of the storm working with the Cajun Navy and other volunteers rescuing everything from dogs and cats to livestock from the floodwaters. She has also housed lost or abandoned animals, even after her own shop was flooded and sustained major damage.
“I was worried that my donors wouldn’t be as generous after I was broken into,” she said. “First somebody stole my cash the other day, then this happens. People have really been understanding, though. I can understand people being sketchy about helping downtown businesses when things like this happen.”
Rogers, her family and a few friends have been unloading a 29-foot flatbed trailer of animal feed every few days since shortly after the storm. She was heartbroken when she first got the call that her shop had been broken into.
“I will give anybody anything they need,” she said. “There’s no reason to break in and steal things.”
Rogers praised the WPD for their quick action.
“I don’t think it was even 20 minutes before they had him in custody,” she said. “I really appreciate Aaron and the Whiteville Police. They didn’t mess around. This young man just didn’t think, I guess. He apparently didn’t know the next door neighbor was a cop. Boy, was he in for a surprise.”
Rogers said some of the animal food was recovered, but not everything that was missing has been found.
“It hurts, but I am not quitting,” she said. “There are too many animals and people that need help right now. Some bad stuff is going to happen anytime there’s a situation like this, but I won’t let it get me down.
“I just can’t say enough about the Whiteville Police. It’s good to know they’re out there looking out for us.”