Cornelius police ask for any other victims to come forward

A Cornelius man was arrested for unlawful entry of a motor vehicle, theft, criminal trespass and unlawful use of a credit card.

According to police reports, Matthew Pugh, 22, has admitted to stealing cell phones, a silver case, a GPS unit and a radar detector from the southeast part of town. All the items have been recovered by the Cornelius Police Department, but the victims of Pugh’s crimes are still unknown. Cornelius police are asking for anyone who had items stolen from their vehicle on June 4-5 to call the department immediately.

“It appears that Mr. Pugh took advantage of people leaving their vehicles unlocked with valuables visible inside,” said Lt. Joe Noffsinger. “Mr. Pugh told officers that the cars he entered were all left unlocked, and we have no evidence to indicate otherwise.”

On June 5, a woman noticed Pugh standing at the driver’s door of her Honda, acting suspicious. The woman yelled and he took off running. She followed him in her vehicle, but he ran through backyards near the south end of 19th Avenue, a silver case in hand.

Officer John Calvert later found Pugh during an area check. Pugh momentarily got away by running through a backyard and over a fence, but Calvert found Pugh with the help of a resident.

When interviewed, Pugh also admitted he stole a debit card and used it at Fred Meyer to buy gum. When he attempted to use it again, he couldn’t guess the PIN and was declined.

Pugh isn’t a stranger to theft charges. On two separate incidents, Pugh was identified as a man pushing a cart full of $300 and $500 worth of Wal-Mart merchandise out of the store, police say. Officers are working with Wal-Mart security to identify any additional crimes Pugh may have committed.

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