Thieves steal NC firefighters' guns, laptops from vehicles at station

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say thieves climbed over the gates at three fire stations and stole firefighters' laptops and guns from their cars


By Jane Wester
The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The parking lots of Charlotte Fire Department stations are monitored by security cameras — and many are blocked off with gates — because thieves have repeatedly targeted firefighters' personal cars over the years.

In December, Charlotte City Council agreed to spend up to $185,000 to outfit the rest of the city's fire stations with security cameras, hoping to cut down on break-ins.

But over the weekend, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say thieves climbed over the gates at three fire stations and stole firefighters' laptops and guns, among other items, from their cars.

One man has been arrested, but another suspect is still at large, police said.

Dalton Hopkins, 18, is wanted on several warrants connected to the break-ins, police said. Zacharias Lee, 25, was arrested Monday.

Some of the cars were locked and some were unlocked, CMPD Capt. Jonathan Thomas said. Two of the stolen guns have been recovered.

On Monday morning, police responded to a 911 call about a suspicious car and arrested Lee. Hopkins was in the car, Thomas said, but he ran away and dropped a gun as he ran.

"We consider him a dangerous individual," Thomas said.

Lee has been charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, five counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle and four counts of larceny of a firearm, among other charges.

Anyone with information about the break-ins or Hopkins' whereabouts should call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Copyright 2018 The Charlotte Observer

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