Arrest spotlights the importance of collaboration

Published 10:14 am Monday, October 7, 2013

The arrest on Wednesday of two individuals suspected in a string of recent Southampton County burglaries was good news for county residents weary of break-ins in their communities. That Robert Settle and Carretta Bunch, both of Como, N.C., are off the street and behind bars is important enough, let alone the fact that their reported confession to three Sept. 25 robberies has led to information and possible suspects regarding other crimes in the county as well. But understanding what led law enforcement to identify and ultimately apprehend the suspects is every bit as important as the arrests themselves.

Earlier in the week, Southampton County Sheriff Jack Stutts took a phone call from a citizen who reported having seen a car that matched the description of the one driven by the suspected thieves. On Wednesday, the same person called back and reported the same vehicle was heading north from Como towards Franklin. Stutts alerted his department, which quickly located the vehicle and made an arrest. The sheriff’s department may never have located the suspects had it not been for the input of an observant citizen.

In a place like Southampton County, with much more road mileage than deputies to patrol it, law enforcement’s ability to gather information from attentive citizens directly correlates to their ability to prevent crimes and those who perpetrate them.