Four arrested, one sought in Kent, Sussex burglaries

Clockwise from upper left, Jaydenn D. Clough, Quadir Bryant, Mightys Gibbs, Tavon G. Johnson, and Robert Mannings III are suspected in a series of burglaries in Kent and Sussex counties, according to authorities. (Submitted photos/Delaware State Police)

Clockwise from upper left, Jaydenn D. Clough, Quadir Bryant, Mightys Gibbs, Tavon G. Johnson, and Robert Mannings III are suspected in a series of burglaries in Kent and Sussex counties, according to authorities. (Submitted photos/Delaware State Police)

MILFORD — Four suspects were arrested and another is sought in connection with several alleged burglaries committed in Kent and Sussex counties from July 5 to July 11.

In announcing the arrests via news release on Thursday night, the Delaware State Police detailed six alleged incidents that involved break-ins at businesses and theft of merchandise and cash:

• July 5, at approximately 12:12 a.m. – Burke Equipment, 11196 East Snake Road, Delmar, – six chainsaws and one concrete saw. The total value of the merchandise was over $2,400. Damage to perimeter fencing valued at approximately $1,500.

• July 5, at approximately 4:30 a.m. – Tractor Supply, 4089 South DuPont Highway, Dover – Nothing was stolen although damage was estimated at approximately $200 to a fence.

• July 8, at approximately 2:29 a.m. – Binkley and Hurst, 22367 Sussex Highway, Seaford – A window was damaged ($500) and a safe that contained a small amount of U.S. currency was removed from the business.

• July 8, at approximately 4:14 a.m. – Sunburst Rentals, 36412 Sussex Highway, Delmar, – Suspects utilized a forklift to pry open a roll-up door causing approximately $1,500 damage and then removed a chainsaw valued over $240.

• July 11 at approximately 1:49 a.m. – Barton’s Landscaping, 20689 Sussex Highway, Seaford – Nothing was stolen although damage was estimated at approximately $1,000 to a fence and video surveillance camera.

• July 11, at approximately 3:10 a.m. – Burke Equipment, 54 Andrews Lake Road, Felton – 11 chainsaws were removed with a total value of over $4,600 along with approximately $1,000 damage to a fence and glass door.

According to police, suspects burglarized the businesses by cutting a portion of perimeter fencing for entry. Stihl brand chainsaws were primarily stolen, according to authorities.

Contact from Pennsylvania

According to state police, the Cain Township (Pa.) Police Department contacted Delaware detectives on July 14 regarding a large number of chainsaws that had been sold to a pawn shop in Thorndale, Pa.

Further investigation identified Mightys E. Gibbs, 24, of Harrington, and Tavon G. Johnson, 22, of Felton as suspects based on information given to the pawn shop during the transaction, police said.

Police claimed that all pawned chainsaws had identical serial numbers as the ones stolen in Delaware; further investigation found the equipment had already been sold to unsuspecting buyers nationwide, according to authorities.

According to police, Jayden D. Clough, 20, of Smyrna, was stopped by police on July 18 after the Honda Accord she was driving was seen parked on Big Stone Beach Road north of Milford with only a parking light on at approximately 10:17 p.m.

Troopers and Kent County Governor’s Task Force Probation Officers made the stop after the Accord traveled approximately a quarter mile from where it was first seen. Before the vehicle stopped, according to police, two men in the back seat fled into a wooded area.

Police said Ms. Clough and passenger Mr. Johnson were taken into custody without incident.

In court documents, police said Ms. Clough began smoking a cigarette and said she didn’t have her driver’s license, which was later located in the vehicle’s trunk.

A vehicle search located two book bags on the rear passenger seat, police said in papers, one which contained a black ski mask and gloves. A second black ski mask and more gloves were seen near the book bag, “as if they were removed from the book bag in preparation to be used,” a trooper said in an affidavit of probable cause.

While at the scene, according to police, the suspects “gave conflicting statements of their whereabouts and activity.”

A K-9 search located clothing items discarded of the unknown suspeccts who fled, police said in papers, and “a do-rag with long strings located along the path the unknown suspect fled which can be tied around someone’s face to blur their facial features to make it difficult to identify them.”

Shotgun located

A search of the trunk located a 12 gauge shotgun “which was not loaded but the pump was in the forward position,” police alleged in documents.

“It was very apparent the shotgun had been recently placed in the Honda as it was on top of the disarray of clothing and other items in the trunk.”
Mr. Johnson was found to have an active capias out of Kent County Court of Common Pleas for violation of probation.

“Through the investigation, it was determined that the subjects had parked along the roadside and were preparing to commit a robbery of the Shore Stop at 432 Bay Road, Milford, which was just in eyesight of where they had been parked,” according to police in the news release.

By July 19, according to police, five suspects were linked to the incidents; arrest warrants were obtained for Mr. Johnson, Ms. Clough and Mr. Gibbs, and Quadir T. Bryant, 24, of Felton, and Robert Mannings III, 24, of Viola were identified for allegedly fleeing during the traffic stop in Milford.

The charges listed

Ms. Clough and Mr. Johnson were taken to Troop 3 and charged with first-degree attempted robbery, attempted possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, second-degree conspiracy and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Mr. Johnson was also charged with attempted possession of a firearm by person prohibited and attempted wearing of disguise during the commission of a felony.

After arraignment at JP Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach, Ms. Clough was released on $22,000 unsecured bond.

Mr. Johnson was committed to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna in lieu of $50,100 cash bond on robbery charges, along with violation of probation.

Also, Mr. Johnson was charged separately with three counts each of third-degree burglary, wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony, possession of burglary tools, second-degree conspiracy, theft, and criminal mischief, and three counts of Possession of Burglary Tools, three counts of Conspiracy 2nd, three counts of Theft, three counts of attempted theft, and second-degree criminal trespass. The charges resulted in an extra $42,700 secured bond.

Police said Mr. Bryant was taken into custody on Monday, charged with first-degree attempted robbery, attempted possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, attempted wearing of a disguise during the commission of a felony five counts of third-degree burglary, three counts each of  wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony and possession of burglary tools, six counts of second-degree conspiracy, four counts of theft, five counts of criminal mischief, attempted theft, second-degree criminal trespass, and resisting arrest. He was sent to Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of $208,000 cash bond after arraignment.

Robert Mannings III was arrested on Tuesday by U.S. Marshall’s Task Force and Troop 3 Criminal Investigations Unit and charged with first-degree attempted robbery, attempted possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, attempted wearing of a disguise during the commission of a felony five counts of third-degree burglary, three counts each of wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony and possession of burglary tools, six counts of second-degree, four counts of theft, five counts of criminal mischief, attempted theft, and second-degree criminal trespass, and resisting arrest. He was arraigned at JP Court 2 and sent to JTVCC on $83,000 secured bond.

One suspect sought

Mr. Gibbs is wanted for first-degree attempted robbery, attempted possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by person prohibited, attempted wearing of a disguise during the commission of a felony, five counts of third-degree burglary, three counts each of wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony and possession of burglary tools, six counts of second-degree conspiracy, four counts of theft, five counts of criminal mischief, attempted theft, and second-degree criminal trespass, and resisting arrest.

Police asked anyone with information on Mr. Gibbs’ whereabouts to contact Detective D. Blomquist at 698-8426. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, online at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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