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Man charged with stealing pork chops also charged with breaking into gas station

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — A local man caught stealing pork chops from Food Lion was identified by his tattoo as a suspect in a convenience store break-in a week earlier, police say.

Salisbury Police charged William Herbert Cornell, 42, whose address is listed as the streets of Salisbury, with felony breaking and entering, misdemeanor shoplifting, misdemeanor resist, obstruct and delay, and felony larceny.

Police were called to the Food Lion on Faith Road after a woman said she saw a man who’d just left the store with three packs of pork chops on him. He was wearing a black shirt, khaki pants and had a duffel bag with him. He was spotted heading behind Rack Room Shoes.

A witness said she and her husband saw the man leave Food Lion and then reach into a vehicle in the parking lot through a window and take what appeared to be money.

An officer found a group of men behind the former Pancho Villas restaurant, 1570 E. Innes St. The officer spoke with a man who matched the description of a man seen leaving Food Lion. The man, quickly identified as William Cornell, spoke with the officer who then attempted to arrest him. He pulled away and took off running, said Police Capt. Shelia Lingle.

He soon returned to the area behind the former restaurant without his shirt. Lingle said he took his shirt off thinking the officer would not recognize him. The officer did remember him and promptly arrested him.

He was searched and the officer spotted a large cross tattoo on his leg that matched a tattoo seen on surveillance video at a recent gas station break-in.

Police said the Pop Shoppe at East Innes Street had been broken into on Aug. 6. The suspect in that case used a cement block to break the lower panel of the glass door and stepped into the building. In the surveillance video the man’s pants leg lifted just enough to show a distinct cross tattoo on his leg.

Lingle said the thief took 50 packs of Newport cigarettes and $400 worth of lottery tickets.

The pork chops were found underneath an abandoned mattress behind the former restaurant.

Cornell remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under an $18,000 secured bond.

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