2 teens charged in connection with string of burglaries at businesses

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police are investigating a string of burglaries that happened in the span of about 35 minutes early Monday in south Charlotte.

Officials with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said six commercial burglaries were reported between approximately 1:45 and 2:20 a.m.

Two 16-year-olds are in custody after the burglaries -- Lamariay Witherspoon and Douglas Mobley.

One of them had a stolen gun, police said.

(Witherspoon, Mobley)

In each incident, the burglars used a rock to get into the business and, once inside, went after the cash register, authorities said.

Officials said the first break-in happened at JJ’s Red Hots on John J. Delaney Drive, where an alarm went off at 1:46 a.m.

Officers who responded to that location said they found two other businesses that were broken into in the same shopping center -- Chef Kwo and Pizza Hut.

Authorities said the next break-in happened around 2:15 a.m. when an alarm went off at the B.Good on  Ballantyne Village Way, followed by two more in a shopping center at 7724 Pineville-Matthews Road, at Chipotle and at Kabuto Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar.

[PHOTOS: Police investigate burglaries at 6 south Charlotte businesses]

Jonathan Luther, owner of JJ’s Red Hots, said he was frustrated by news of the break-in at his business.

"It's a tough business anyway without this kind of stuff heaping on top of it,” Luther said. “We’re just hardworking people trying to make a living, and to have this happen is at the very least an annoyance and at the very most infuriating."

Police said they believed the burglars may have been connected with an early morning crash that happened on Beatties Ford Road near Carrington Pointe.

Officials said a car crashed into some trees just before 4:30 a.m. and that they searched the area for the possible burglars, but didn’t find any trace of them.

CMPD officials said police in Pineville and Matthews were notified about the burglaries in case the thieves decided to go to those areas next.

The break-ins were found by officials to be connected with similar incidents in Huntersville and the Ballantyne area.

[READ MORE: Two Jimmy Johns broken into overnight]

Huntersville police said Monday that the two 16-year-olds were arrested in connection with a couple of burglaries in the area.

Over the weekend, authorities said two Jimmy John’s were broken into, one in Ballantyne.

Both Mobley and Witherspoon were charged with six counts of breaking and entering, four counts of larceny after breaking and entering and six counts of conspiracy to commit breaking and entering.

Mobley was also charged with possession of a firearm by a minor and possession of a stolen firearm.

Officials said Witherspoon faces five additional charges of breaking and entering for his involvement in the Charlotte burglaries.

Police are trying to identify two others who they said were involved in the break-ins.

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