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TAYLORSVILLE, NC (WBTV) -
The front lobby at the investigations division of the Alexander County Sheriff's Office is filled with items authorities believe were stolen from garages in the Bethlehem area.
The items were recovered when residents reported a suspicious vehicle in their neighborhoods and after deputies stopped the car, "It was filled with all this," said Sheriff Chris Bowman.
The driver had been spotted pulling into driveways and walking up to houses.
43 year old Steve Bowman was charged with breaking and entering and other charges.
"He was going into neighborhoods and looking for open garage doors and would then go in and take what he wanted," said the Sheriff.
In some cases, they believe he would gain entry into the homes themselves. Detective Mark Sinclair said people need to keep their garage doors closed when possible. Similar thefts have been a growing problem for months, he said. In some cases homeowners don't know they are victims "Until they go looking for the item."
Steve Bowman is behind bars under a bond of $30,000. Everette Moose, who said he spotted Bowman pulling into one driveway, has told his wife they need to be careful. "I told her to keep the garage door closed from now on."
A half mile away, Jeff Lail said thieves like Steve Bowman are taking a big chance if they come to his neighborhood. "We're going to protect our families and our homes," he said. "He's gonna get shot."
Authorities are urging people not to leave items in carports that may tempt thieves and those who have garage doors should keep them closed, even if they are at home.