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Rock Cave man arrested for allegedly breaking into storage units

BUCKHANNON – A Rock Cave man was arrested Monday after allegedly stealing several items from storage units on Halifax Street.

John Lawrence, 32, was arrested for two counts of felony conspiracy; one count of grand larceny; and one count of breaking-and-entering, all felonies.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by investigating officer Trooper J.S. Tonkin with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police, on Monday, Feb. 17 at 9:24 a.m. Tonkin received a complaint in reference to multiple storage units being broken into at 5 Halifax Street in Buckhannon.

The complainant said they had “made contact” with a male and female in a brown Chevrolet Tahoe with a front license plate that read “Peterbilt.”

Later that day, Tonkin contacted the victim who owned the items from the storage unit that had been broken into. The person informed the officer multiple items were missing from the unit, including but not limited to, a Barnett Recruit Crossbow valued at approximately $300 and a Hoyt Maxxis Compound Bow valued at approximately $1,500.

According to the report, while investigating the case, Tonkin learned John Lawrence drove a vehicle matching the description of the brown Tahoe, the file says. Tonkin, Senior Trooper P.J. Robinette and Deputy Tyler Gordon with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office arrived at Lawrence’s residence in Rock Cave at approximately 4:25 p.m. and, according to the report, while at the residence Tonkin saw the previously mentioned vehicle.

The file says the vehicle had multiple doors open and was full of various items, including cut padlocks. Tonkin talked with Lawrence, who then allegedly admitted he and his wife, Heather Lawrence, had broken into the storage units and taken multiple items.

According to the report, officers on scene gained consent from Heather Lawrence to search the residence. During the search, Heather Lawrence allegedly admitted she and John Lawrence had also broken into the storage units approximately three days prior and taken multiple items. Heather Lawrence then showed officers on scene the items that were taken. The victim’s crossbow and compound bow were among the items recovered from the residence.

Bail was set at $60,000.

The penalty for felony conspiracy is imprisonment for one to five years in the state penitentiary, a fine of up to $10,000 on each count or both. If convicted of grand larceny, Lawrence would face confinement for one to 10 years in prison, or, in the discretion of the court, confinement in jail for up to one year and a fine.

If convicted of breaking-and-entering, he would face confinement in the state penitentiary for not less than one but not more than 10 years.

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