HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A string of vehicle robberies and break-ins across multiple North Carolina counties have led to multiple charges for a 33-year-old Benson man.
Christopher Lee Martin was found sleeping in one of the missing cars around 10 p.m. Wednesday in Wake Forest with a stolen firearm also in his possession, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.
Authorities believe Martin stole a Mercedes in Johnston County before abandoning it Wednesday morning when it ran out of fuel on Interstate 85 in Orange County. The sheriff’s office believes Martin then “walked through the woods bordering the interstate.”
He wound up in a nearby neighborhood where authorities report he stole an unlocked truck with the keys inside of it. After taking the truck for a drive, the sheriff’s office said he abandoned it for “unknown reasons” in a residential driveway.
Near that driveway, two residents in the area later reported that their cars had been broken into with nothing appearing to be missing, the sheriff’s office also said.
Then, a third Mustang was reported stolen in the same area. The sheriff’s office statement said the car was left “unlocked, with the keys inside, and contained a firearm in the center console.”
The car theft spree then ended in northern Wake County where Martin was found asleep in the Mustang by Wake Forest police.
Martin is in the custody of the Wake County Detention Center on charges from Wake Forest police that include two counts of larceny of a motor vehicle, one count of larceny of a firearm and four counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said “other jurisdictions will likely seek charges against him as well.”
Captain of the Criminal Investigations Division for the sheriff’s office made a statement on the rather opportunistic nature of Martin’s crimes.
“The reality is, many criminals are opportunistic,” he said. “An unlocked vehicle – especially one with the keys or a key fob inside – is easy to steal. We strongly advise people to lock their residences and vehicles. This is especially important if you have weapons, medication, or valuables inside.”
Anyone with further information about this case is asked to call Investigator P. Gilchrist at 919-245-2928.