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FBI Returns $23,000 From
Pyramid 'Sting' To Local Police
BY ERIC CARLSON
Christmas came in May for the Shallotte Police and
Brunswick County Sheriff's departments Monday as a
Federal Bureau of investigation ageni |M>cd Sor.ls
Ciaus by ciciivering a Dunaic ot J>ZJ,UU7 in cash to
Sheriff John C'oit Davis and Chief Rodney Cause.
The money was awarded to the two agencies as part
of a superior court judgment against the owner of a
Shallotte computer store arrested in January 1993 who
offered to buy $40,000 worth of "stolen" goods from un
dercover detectives from the two departments.
Store owner Douglas Eugene Thompkins, 26, of Red
Springs was chargcd with conspiracy lo receive stolen
goods, along with his father, the store manager and an
employee of the store.
The four men were arrested after they agreed to pur
chase a truckload of video games, computers and elec
tronic equipment from an undercover agent in the store
parking lot at Shallotte Plaza on Main street
The officer had represented the truck's contents as
stolen. But the vehicle was actually loaded with $40,000
worth of new merchandise borrowed from a Wilmington
department store. After negotiating a price, the suspects
agreed to pay $4,000 for the ioad.
"They had $23,000 in cash on them, so they were
ready to deal," Sheriff's Detective Billy Hughes said af
ter tne arrest.
Police completed the purchase, then arrested the four
men and seized the cash and an estimated $191,000
worth of property, mostly video games and computer
At the time, Thompkins was the owner of 13 stores,
mostly video and video game rental outlets in the Red
Springs and Lumbcrton areas. The Pyramid store was
his only computer store and had been in operation for
about six months at the time of the raid.
Thr FRI was called in when local investigators be
came suspicious that Ihompkins might have been pur
chasing stolen goods from other states. Special Agent
Craig Ackley of the FBI's Wilmington office said the
bureau was also looking into the possibility of federal
money laundering violations. ?
Ackley said Monday that the federal investigation is
continuing. He said he could not comment on the details
of the esse.
The local investigation began when the store's man
ager asked a customer if he could get him 100 Super
Nintendo games while in New York, according to court
records. The customer told a sheriff's detective that the
manager wanted to buv soap, perfume, cologne. 35mm
film, clothing, computers and computer equipment.
Under Det. Hughes direction, the informant accepted
$480 from the store manager for samples of stolen
goods to be delivered at a later date. He was also given
$280 by a store employee for the purchase of an AK-47
Working with undercover officers from Shallotte and
the sheriff's department narcotics squad. Hughes had the
informant arrange a larger purchase for a (nirit inxi nt
stolen goods. It was that delivery that led to the arrest of
Thompkins and the others.
In an agreement with prosecutors, Thompkins pleaded
guilty in exchange for the dismissal of charges against
his father. The judge ordered the seized cash and a van
turned over to the two law enforcement agencies.
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SHERIFF John Carr Davis (left) and Shallotte Police Chief Rodney Gausf stage a mock arm
wrestling match to decide which department will receive $23,007 in cash seized in a joint stolen-goods
44 sting " operation last year. The money, awarded in a superior court judgment, was delivered by tut
FBI agent Monday and divided equally for use by the two law enforcement agencies.
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