Pilot PD captures Railroad Bandit


First Posted: 3/12/2009

PILOT MOUNTAIN The Pilot Mountain police chief is crediting good detective work by his officers in the capture this week of the man they believe is the Railroad Bandit.
During the course of two months, nine breaking and enterings and larcenies were reported from several businesses along the railroad tracks in the town of Pilot Mountain, according to Pilot Mountain Police Chief Darryl Bottoms, who said Thursday that after the first couple of B&Es and the link between the railroad tracks was discovered, the officers dubbed the alleged thief the Railroad Bandit.
On Wednesday, James Kenneth Deal, 45, of 108 Wendover Drive, Pilot Mountain, was arrested on a number of charges linked to the breaking and enterings, which began Dec. 11, 2008, Bottoms said.
The first report of breaking and entering and larceny was reported at L&M Properties at 308 Nelson St., on Dec. 11 where various drills, a cordless drill, a skill saw as well as other hand tools were stolen. The larceny and damage to the facility total about $1,300 in losses.
Then, Pilot International, 316 Academy St., reported on Dec. 23 a larceny of copper pipe and several small items totaling $236.
On Dec. 29, K&G Salvage, 300 S. Depot St., reported a breaking and entering and larceny of various hand tools, extension cords, a concrete saw and wire. Those items and damage totaled about $625.
After the first of the year, on Jan. 8, K&G Salvage reported another incident of B&E and larceny when a sawzall, portable saw and hand tools were taken. The total loss was about $500.
L&M Properties reported a second B&E and larceny of tools, wire and extension cords on Jan. 12, totaling $625 in losses.
On Feb. 2, Hamlin Castings, 202 Hamlin Drive, reported that it also was broken into and a number of items were taken, including hand tools and a table saw. The losses totaled about $890 in the incident.
Just five days later, J.R. Lynch & Sons, 307 Academy St., reported larceny totaling $200 on Feb. 7. Then on Feb. 10, Granite Tactical at 523 S. Stephens St. reported a B&E and damage to property totaling $1,080.
The last report of breaking and entering and larceny was again at L&M Properties on Feb. 10 with extension cords and a battery charger missing, totaling $405.
Bottoms reported that the grand total in stolen items and damage came to $5,861.
We recovered $1,800 in tools yesterday, Bottoms said Thursday afternoon.
How this started was it was all happening on the railroad tracks, so we nicknamed him the railroad bandit, the chief said.
Once we finally linked the tracks to the break-ins, we set up surveillance on the tracks, Bottoms explained. On Feb. 18, Officer D.J. Edmonds spotted a suspect on the tracks with a bicycle.
Edmonds spoke with the man he saw and interviewed him. After he got his information, we started more surveillance and working the tracks, said the chief.
On Wednesday, the police department had a report of a suspicious person on the tracks. Officer J.K. Dezarn responded to the call and approached the man, who turned out to be James Kenneth Deal, the same man Edmonds spoke with.
He detected an odor of alcohol, which led to an arrest for drug charges after questioning him, Bottoms reported.
After taking Deal into custody, the officers looked over his vehicle and allegedly found some items of interest, so we searched his car and found the burglary tools he used in the breaking and enterings, Bottoms said.
Pilot Mountains K-9 Officer Zipper and her handler, Officer Robbie Jackson, were called to the scene, where they did a search and found crack pipes and other paraphernalia, the chief reported.
Deal has been charged with six counts of felony breaking and entering, four counts of felony larceny, four counts of felony possession of stolen goods, three charges of damage to real property, one felony possession of cocaine and one misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
He is in the Surry County Jail on a $50,000 secured bond.
I want to thank my officers for the outstanding job they did on this especially Officer Dezarn and Officer Edmonds, Bottoms said.
Contact Wendy Byerly Wood at [email protected] or 719-1923.

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