WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A Winston-Salem man is facing several charges after allegedly breaking into a Forsyth County home and leading deputies on a chase while crashing several times.
A couple, who wished to remain anonymous, first noticed the man in their West Clemmonsville Road home thanks to their surveillance system.
“We called 911 very quickly and we jumped in our vehicle,” the woman said.
When they arrived, the man was still inside. They described him as walking out of the home “very calmly,” as they stayed on the phone with dispatchers.
“Then he was driving up the driveway, we literally were just staring at each other,” the woman recalled.
Deputies just missed the man the first time. But, when another deputy noticed him in Winston-Salem, they tried to get him to stop. He didn’t.
“I just heard sirens, which is nothing uncommon, but then I thought, ‘ Gosh, they’re awful close,’” said a woman on Seaman Street, who also wished not to be identified.
Winston-Salem police say the man crashed into two cars off South Stratford Road before making his way onto Seaman Street.
“I saw him tear in behind this house right here,” said the Seaman Street woman, who said the man also crashed into a garbage can as he pulled onto the street.
The suspect, who deputies identified as 54-year-old John Fitzgerald Wiggins, stopped in the back of a home before jumping out.
“I heard branches breaking behind the house and I said, ‘He’s back there in a blue hoodie,’” the woman said, as she and Wiggins locked eyes.
Wiggins was arrested after trying to hide a couple houses down.
“They apprehended the fella behind my house, underneath the oil drum,” homeowner Michael Stout said.
Stout didn’t take kindly to the alleged thief going onto the property he worked hard for.
“It’s a job. Get a job, that’s all it takes. That’s all you gotta do, go to work,” he said. “It seems like a lot of people nowadays, it’s like a disease to them. They’re too lazy to get a job. That’s all it takes.”
Deputies cuffed Wiggins and loaded him into a cruiser in the middle of the street.
The sheriffs office says they charged him with breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of burglary tools and felony flee to elude. They add that the Winston-Salem police department charged him with careless and reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
The original victims got their stolen television back at the scene. A bag with other belongings was still missing.