Cleveland pair charged with stealing car, selling it for scrap

Published 11:31 am Monday, September 17, 2018

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — Rowan authorities say a Cleveland pair stole a vehicle and other items from a vacant home under construction and then took the car to a scrap dealer. Both face felony offenses.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office charged both Wanda Barnett Stewart, 54, of the 5000 block of Foster Road, and Donald Edward Copeland, 55, of the 3900 block of Foster Road, with felony breaking and entering a building, larceny after breaking and entering and larceny of a vehicle.

Stewart has since been released from the Rowan County Detention Center under a $500 secured bond and Copeland remains in the county jail under a $5,000 secured bond.

The owner of the property said he’d last been working at the house, located in the 1800 block of White Road, on Aug. 19 when he’d gone to mow the lawn. He said a 1995 Toyota Tercel that was parked at the home was stolen. The vehicle belonged to his brother-in-law, who intended to sell it. Someone also stole a Kenmore stove and a water heater that was on the front porch, according to the victim.

In addition, there were other items stolen, including a 4-foot by 6-foot utility trailer, a transmission, chrome wheels and tires, and other scrap material from the garage.

On Aug. 27, a Rowan Sheriff’s deputy received information from the Division of Motor Vehicles’ License & Theft Bureau indicating they’d received a “hit” on the stolen vehicle, but it was delayed and they determined it had been sold as scrap to a dealer.

The scrap dealer, L. Gordon Iron & Metal in Statesville, confirmed that on Aug. 22, Wanda Stewart brought in a dark-colored Toyota and it has since been crushed.

On Aug. 30, the officer spoke with Wanda Stewart by phone and she said the vehicle wasn’t hers, but the person who had it was sitting beside her. The officer spoke with Donald Copeland, who said he got the vehicle from a Hispanic woman on White Road.

The officer asked if the woman gave Copeland the keys and title, which he admitted she had not. The pair met the officer in person and gave statements. Copeland and Stewart were later arrested at their respective homes.

Copeland also has an outstanding warrant for worthless check.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.