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Computer program, old-fashioned police work lead to thief's arrest

By Shavonne Potts
Salisbury Post
Authorities say they caught a thief in the act over the weekend using
high-tech computer software to predict when the crime would take place.
Investigators with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jacob
Pierce Berrier, 18, of 846 Swicegood Road, Linwood. Berrier was caught
breaking into the Webb Road Flea Market on Saturday night, Sheriff’s
Capt. John Sifford said. Investigators have also tied him to other
break-ins at the flea market that happened between April 2008 and May
2008.
“The suspect used cutting tools to cut a hole in the fence and used
cutters to remove a lock to get into the building,” Sifford said.
Investigators entered the location, times, dates and type of crimes
committed in past break-ins. The computer software, OSSI Record
Management System, offered the most likely date of the next break-in.
This time, authorities were ready.
Deputies and investigators set up a stakeout at the flea market. They
watched a man enter the building, then went in after him.
They found the suspect hiding near a booth. He had bolt cutters, a
small crowbar, flashlight and a screwdriver. He’d uncovered some tables
that were covered with tarps, Sifford said.
Since the Sheriff’s Office got the computer software last year, this
arrest marked one of the first instances where there’s been enough data
to single out and “to some extent, predict the next crime,” Lt. Eddie
Kluttz said.
Kluttz helps maintain the OSSI system and other computer programs at
the Sheriff’s Office.
Before getting the computer program, investigators were always able to
compile information and map crime “hot spots,” Kluttz said, but this is
quicker.
“The data is real-time within three or four minutes,” he said.
Deputies on patrol also use the OSSI system in their cruisers,
virtually eliminating the need to spend hours writing reports at the
end of the day. Once a deputy enters a report, the information is
available immediately for a supervisor’s review or data collection.
For the deputies, Kluttz said, “It’s a great enhancement from what they
had in the past.”
Berrier is charged with five counts of breaking and entering and
larceny; two counts of attempted breaking and entering; one count of
breaking and entering and larceny of a coin operated machine; two
counts of possession of burglary tools; and one count of possession of
drug paraphernalia.
Berrier remained in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $10,000
bond Tuesday.
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or spotts@salisburypost.com.

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