Police are accusing a Southern Pines man for breaking into National Guard members’ personal vehicles while they were deployed to the North Carolina coast to provide rescue and recovery assistance during Hurricane Florence.
The twelve vehicles were parked on West Morganton Road near the Southern Pines National Guard Armory.
Shelton Verneil McKenzie, 49, is facing 26 charges of breaking and entering to a motor vehicle, felony larceny, misdemeanor larceny, larceny of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and injury to personal property.
The Southern Pines Police Department said McKenzie entered the vehicles by smashing the windows and stealing multiple items including a firearm.
Officers from the Southern Pines Police Department’s Patrol and Investigation Division recovered blood evidence from these vehicles believed to have been left behind by the perpetrator. After a DNA analysis was conducted, a positive match was made identifying McKenzie as the suspect and arrest warrants were obtained.
DNA analysis results were also obtained for comparable cold case vehicle breaking and entering incidents that occurred in 2007 and 2008 that identified McKenzie as the suspect.
The Southern Pines Police Department has requested that the District Attorney’s office review these new charges with the consideration of further prosecution of McKenzie as a habitual felon.
“With the implementation of an enhanced case management system by the Southern Pines Police Department, combined with the recent advances in DNA analysis, our ability to identify unknown offenders has significantly increased,” said Southern Pines Police Chief Bob Temme. “This arrest is a direct reflection of these improvements.”
McKenzie is jailed under an $85,000 bond.