A man with a 35-year criminal history that includes allegedly cutting his way through strip malls was arrested by Wilson police on a fugitive warrant.
Paul Augustus Fuller Jr., 55, 406 Gold St. E., has been accused of plaguing businesses throughout eastern North Carolina.
He was out of jail on a $30,000 secured bond from Pitt County where he faces current breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering charges.
In December 2009 alone, Fuller was arrested and charged with 42 counts of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny after he was accused of going on a breaking and entering spree in Wilson along Airport Boulevard with an accomplice.
Now he’s accused of committing crimes outside North Carolina. Fuller faces 30 charges in Virginia.
Wilson police arrested him Oct. 4.
A police officer spotted a vehicle associated with Fuller traveling along Pender Street, said Sgt. Steve Stroud, Wilson police spokesman.
The officer knew from a previous alert that Fuller was wanted out of state for burglary, Stroud said.
"The officer proceeded to perform a traffic stop on the vehicle and Fuller stopped his vehicle and exited,” Stroud said. "The officer was able to catch up with Fuller on foot and Fuller began to flee on foot.”
Other officers assisted and Fuller was taken into custody.
Detectives from out of state responded to Wilson to interview Fuller.
He is being held on a fugitive warrant and was not given a bond.
Wilson Police Chief Thomas Hopkins said Fuller’s arrest is a great demonstration of law enforcement agencies working together through the sharing of information.
"When agencies are working together and sharing information we are all meeting the needs of our communities,” Hopkins said. "Criminal activity does not have jurisdictional lines. I’m extremely pleased at the rapport the Wilson Police Department have with numerous law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels. I’ve stated before that we will use whatever resources available to address violent and repeat offenders like Paul Fuller.”
VIRGINIA CASE EMERGES
Law enforcement officials in Virginia said Fuller targeted numerous businesses there.
The York-Poquoson (Va.) Sheriff’s Office charged Fuller in connection to numerous night-time, commercial burglaries that took place in July.
Fuller was charged with nine counts of burglary, 10 counts of possessing burglary tools, five counts of grand larceny, four counts of petty larceny and two counts of misdemeanor destruction of property, said Deputy First Class Mike Russell.
Fuller allegedly targeted the same types of businesses there that he did in eastern North Carolina.
Specifically, Fuller targeted Great Atlantic Spas, Bead, Nail & Hair, Sherwin Williams, Dragon China Restaurant, Becky’s Hallmark, Adam’s Shoes, Super Cuts, York Cleaners and China Ocean, according to information provided by Russell.
Deputies are continuing their investigation. Russell said in each case Fuller stole money or merchandise.
HOLE IN THE WALL
In 2011, Greenville, N.C., police arrested and charged Fuller with nine counts of felony breaking and entering, four counts of felony larceny and one count of felony larceny of chose in action. At that time he was accused of victimizing numerous businesses there.
Fuller would allegedly break into one business and then enter a second or third business by cutting a hole in the wall to the adjacent business. This method was much like that used to break in to at least 42 businesses in Wilson over an 11-month period in 2009.
Wilson Police Capt. Keith Pendergrass said Tuesday that Fuller’s MO was tearing through strip malls.
In December 2009, Fuller was arrested and charged with 42 counts of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny after breaking and entering. His accomplice, James Arthur Taylor, was charged with four counts of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny after breaking and entering.
The break-ins started Feb. 20 and ended in December 2009.
The businesses allegedly targeted in 2009 by Fuller and Taylor were Heavenly Pooch Salon, Allstate Insurance on Airport Road and Brentwood, Hair Benders, Nail Creations, Edmundson Insurance, Allstate Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, Hayes Custom Drapery, SBS Hair Salon, Hosanna Therapeutic Services, Toe 2 Toe Dance Studio, Nancy’s Nails, Too Cute, Hairworx, Getting Ready, Dip-N-Dots, Ruby’s Buffet, Regency Florist, Builders Mart Realty, Four Sisters’ Quilt Works, Sylvia’s Nails (broken into twice), Serene Solutions, Wendy’s Nails, Timmermon Insurance, Supreme Stylists, Lifted Up Hair Salon, Colonial House of Flowers, Diva Nails Spa, Carpets by David, Hong Kong Restaurant, Andy’s, Rite Aid Office, Uniform Outlet, Little China and Trends-N-Traditions.
An estimate of approximately $3,816 was taken during the 42 break-ins while the businesses sustained about $16,000 worth of damage.
He was later accused of stealing copper at Wilson homes.
Chief Hopkins said if repeat offenders continue to commit these types of property offenses in the community, police will continue to pursue them and arrest them.
"Our citizens and business owners have worked too hard for their belongings and we will not accept this type of activity,” Hopkins said. "We would like to encourage our citizens to work with us to keep our community safe by reporting any suspicious activity. Watch out for your neighbor and watch out for our children. You can always call Crime Stoppers, but call 911 for emergencies. You do not have to give your name or any personal information to Crime Stoppers.”
The N.C. Department of Correction records show Fuller has served prison time during the past 35 years.
He has convictions in Nash, Duplin, Johnston, Harnett, Edgecombe and Wilson counties.
He received probation in 1978 for felony breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering and in 2009 for two counts of felonious breaking and entering.
Fuller served three years in prison between 1979 and 1982 for common law robbery; three years between 1982 and 1985 for robbery with a dangerous weapon; five years in prison for four counts of felonious breaking and entering, three counts of felony larceny after breaking and entering, misdemeanor larceny and misdemeanor breaking and entering; and nine years between 1994 and 2005 in prison for two counts of felonious receiving of stolen goods.
His most recent conviction was in Wilson County in 2011 for breaking and entering and larceny. He received probation.