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Man accused of conspiring with grandson to rob longtime friend

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Jimmy Beck might be changing his will soon.
Named in it is Robert Thomas, whose grandson, Christopher Garrison, is now accused of breaking into Beck’s home and stealing $15,000. Thomas also faces charges.
Thomas and Beck, his boss, routinely have breakfast together. On July 4, that breakfast apparently gave Garrison time to enter Beck’s home, according to reports from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
Thomas and Beck arrived back at Beck’s home on Winding Way after breakfast, deputies said, and realized someone had been in the house.
What seemed to be a routine burglary turned into a backstabbing conspiracy, according to a Rowan County Sheriff’s Office report.
Emergency 911 communications received a call about 9:45 a.m. from Thomas, saying Beck’s home had been broken into.
The two called authorities when they saw an attic door in the home had been lowered.
Rowan investigators secured the home, the report said.
Insulation was strewn throughout parts of the home. Deputies said it appeared the thief entered through an attic ventilation compartment.
The doors were open in most rooms, the report said, and paper documents littered the floor.
“It led them to believe they were looking for something in particular,” Rowan County Sheriff’s Office Capt. John Sifford said.
At one point during the search, paramedics were called to the scene for 76-year-old Beck, who was suffering from chest pains. He was checked out at the home, but was not transported to the hospital.
Investigators found several guns in the home that had not been disturbed and medication that had not been taken.
The only thing that appeared missing was $15,000 in cash, the report said.
Beck, the owner of several mobile home parks in the area, said he had withdrawn some money from the bank, but also routinely collected cash payments from tenants, according to the report.
Thomas is an employee of Beck’s and also owns and pastors Little Country Church in Kannapolis, the report said.
But after the investigation, deputies said they found Thomas took Beck out for breakfast while Thomas’ grandson, Garrison, stole his longtime friend’s money.
Garrison, 25, of Oakboro, was arrested Tuesday and charged with felony conspiracy, felony larceny and felony breaking and entering.
Thomas, 68, of North Chapel Street in Landis, was charged with the same.
Both were placed in the Rowan County Detention Center under $15,000 bonds each. Thomas was released after posting bond, Garrison remained in jail Wednesday morning.
The report did not say how long Beck and Thomas had been friends prior to the incident, but Thomas was listed in Beck’s will.
Beck and Thomas could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

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