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Rowan Sheriff’s Office: Man who claimed he was locked in auto parts dealership charged with drug possession

By Shavonne Potts

shavonne.potts@salisburypost.com

CHINA GROVE — A man who claimed to be locked inside an automotive dealership was found in possession of heroin and pills, according to Rowan County Sheriff’s spokesman Capt. John Sifford.

A deputy responded to Copart, 1081 Recovery Road, on Friday night to a burglary alarm. According to a 911 dispatcher, a man had been seen on security cameras walking around outside the business.

A manager met with the deputy to say they believed the suspect was still at the business.

Austin Evan Watts, 31, told the deputy he’d been locked inside the business and had planned to stay until the morning. The deputy asked if he had a cellphone and Watts said he did. The deputy asked why he didn’t call for help. Watts told the deputy it didn’t occur to him to use his phone, Sifford said.

He told the deputy he’d gotten there are 4 p.m., checked in at the front desk. Watts said he was looking for a vehicle, he was a regular customer and had an account at the business.

Watts told the deputy he arrived in a GMC work van. The deputy asked if he could search the van. Watts gave the deputy consent to search the van. The deputy found a small bundle of heroin after Watts admitted he had drugs in the vehicle.

The deputy also found two syringes and an empty bundle and two drink cans that were used to contain the heroin for liquifying the drug, Sifford said.

The deputy also found a pill bottle with his name on it but the pills inside were clonazepam and methadone.

Watts began to resist as a deputy was attempting to arrest him. Watts had to be taken to the ground, Sifford said.

Watts, of the 100 block of Fletch Ada Lane, Leasburg, was charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a schedule I controlled substance, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, misdemeanor simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance, misdemeanor simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor second-degree trespassing and misdemeanor resist, obstruct, delay an officer.

He was issued a $1,500 secured bond.

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