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Metal Thieves Arrested After One ‘Butt Dials’ 911 During Heist

Monroe, NC – A couple of North Carolina thieves were busted by police late last week after one of them mistakenly “butt dialed” 911 in the middle of their heist.

The incident occurred at about at a construction company located at 4324 Phil Hargett Court at approximately 3:30 a.m. on May 17, the Monroe Police Department (MPD) said in a Facebook post.

Police said two suspects, Jeffrey Bird and Maxwell Howard, were rummaging through metal when one of them mistakenly dialed 911, WNCT reported.

“Dispatchers originally thought the caller was in distress, but quickly realized two people were simply discussing what items were best to steal and which items would be most useful for them to take,” the MPD said.

The dispatchers listened to Bird and Howard for several minutes while officers responded to the scene, WNCT reported.

“They were talking [about] what to pick up,” MPD Lieutenant Steve Morton told the news outlet. “‘We’re going to get that, make sure you’re going to pick that up, we need that one’ [and so forth].”

The dispatchers even heard one of the suspects telling the other than he could see the police coming, according to the MPD.

Bird took off running, but was still unknowingly on the phone with 911, WNCT reported.

He was subsequently arrested.

Howard was apprehended at the scene and has been charged with felony larceny and possession of methamphetamine.

Bird also had an active warrant for felony larceny, according to the MPD.

Lt. Morton said the case was almost too strange to be real.

“You have to read it again because you don’t believe it,” he said of the police report.

Police said they recovered an estimated $12,000 in stolen property during the course of the investigation.

“Note to self,” the MPD said in its post about the botched heist. “Don’t call 911 while committing crime.”

One of the two suspects eventually asked police to remove the post because it was so “embarrassing,” according to WNCT.

The MPD declined to take it down.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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