Crime & Courts

Monroe couple charged in nearly 50 crimes

A Monroe couple has been arrested in connection with nearly 50 crimes over the past month, according to the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said James Lee Clark, 33, and his wife, Jamie Renea Crowell, 27, were responsible for a series of break-ins of homes, cars and businesses across the county. Most of the crimes were reported in the New Salem, Unionville and Monroe areas, and along U.S. 601 near the state line.

Sheriff Eddie Cathey said the property damage and larcenies accounted for more than $28,000. He said detectives have recovered a number of items, some from pawn shops and others from people who purchased the stolen goods without knowing they were stolen.

Investigators said they have recovered items such as stolen jewelry, a class ring, televisions, cameras, backpack leaf blowers and an antique double-barrel shotgun dating to 1934.

In addition to homes, vehicles and businesses, the couple is also accused of stealing landscaping equipment in Indian Trail and with breaking into coin-operated machines.

Investigators said a break in the case took place in the past week, after the Sheriff’s Office published photos of a suspect vehicle. Those photos were provided by a neighbor of one break-in victim in New Salem and were taken with a home security system.

When the photo was published, authorities said, other tips were called in. Cathey said Marshville police Detective Felix Blakeney also was working on the case and provided help to the Sheriff’s Office. With the help of Monroe police, Cathey said, detectives were able to identify Clark and Crowell as suspects.

Clark was taken into custody Monday after he was found hiding near his home off Wilkes Drive in Monroe. Crowell was arrested Wednesday afternoon and was found hiding in a closet at a Monroe home.

The couple also were served with warrants from Polkton police for a series of business break-ins in Anson County.

Authorities said Clark was charged with 18 counts of felony breaking and entering; 18 counts of larceny after breaking and entering; 13 counts of injury to property; six counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle; larceny of a firearm; felony larceny; two counts of obtaining property by false pretense; breaking and entering a coin machine; financial card theft; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

He was jailed under $130,000 bond.

Authorities said Crowell was charged with 17 counts of felony breaking and entering; 18 counts of larceny after breaking and entering; 13 counts of injury to property; six counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle; larceny of a firearm; obtaining property by false pretense; breaking and entering a coin machine; conspiracy to commit larceny; and conspiracy to commit breaking and entering.

She was jailed under $55,000 bond.

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