A theft suspect met his match when he tried to haul off a pickup truck load of tools from the Cronland Lumber Yard on Highway 73.
Deputies were dispatched to the business at around 5:40 p.m. on Feb. 7 in response to a breaking and entering in progress. When they arrived on the scene the business owner, Stan Cronland, had the suspect out of his truck and on the ground at gunpoint, according to a press release from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
Cronland told officers he was pulling into the business when he saw a white pickup truck parked by one of the buildings. He saw the truck try to leave the scene so he turned his vehicle around and accelerated to cut the suspect off before he got to the gate. He held the man at gunpoint until deputies arrived on the scene. The man, identified as Matthew Stone Hulett, 32, of Highway 73 in Lincolnton, told the owner that he had taken items from one of the buildings and the items were on the back of the truck. Cronland said the suspect begged him not to call the police because he had been in prison before.
The tools found in the bed of the truck were valued at more than $3,000 and were returned to the owner. Hulett was charged with one felony count each of breaking and entering a building, larceny after breaking and entering and possession of stolen goods. He was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond.
Hulett has prior convictions for misdemeanor larceny in Lincoln County in 2006, felony possession of a schedule I controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and receiving stolen goods in Mecklenburg County in 2008 and operating a vehicle without a license and worthless check in Lincoln County in 2009. Hulett served prison time from August 2009 to January 2010, according to North Carolina Department of Public Safety records.