GRAHAM COUNTY, N.C. – On June 13th, officers with Graham County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) began an investigation into a vehicle break-in at the Fontana Dam Visitor Center. During this incident, several items were taken including debit/credit cards.
The investigation into this singular breaking and entering revealed at least two individuals using some of the stolen cards at local business establishments, Benjamin Laney of the Tuskeegee Community and Spencer Branham of Robbinsville. Both were subsequently arrested.
Mr. Banham was charged with three counts of identity theft, three counts of obtaining property by false pretense, and one count of felony possession of stolen goods. He has made bond and is currently awaiting trial.
Mr. Laney was eventually apprehended on a traffic stop. During the traffic stop several items were in his possession which led to pending charges in Monroe County, TN, and other larcenies in the Fontana and Tuskeegee area, including property stolen from TVA at Fontana Dam.
Authorities in Alabama have also contacted GCSO in regards to him being a person of interest in incidents in their state.
During the course of this investigation, GCSO charged Laney with 9 counts of identity theft, 9 counts of obtaining property by false pretense, 1 count of breaking and entering a vehicle, 2 counts of larceny after breaking and entering, 4 counts of financial card theft, 1 count of injury to personal property, 1 count of possession of stolen goods, and 1 count of possession with intent to manufacture, sale, and deliver a schedule II controlled substance.
Currently, Mr. Laney is incarcerated awaiting trial and under a $75,000 bond. More charges may be forthcoming due to identifying owners of property found in his possession.