Sheriff’s Office: Man arrested after business owner spots him driving stolen van

Matthew Straughan – Picture courtesy of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office


Lincolnton, NC – The owner of the Home Place Restaurant was on his way on a planned fishing trip in Burke County when he spotted the van stolen from his restaurant early this morning.

The owner, Clay Heafner, called 911 and followed the van until a Morganton Public Safety Officer could respond and stop the vehicle and the suspect. The van was recovered and the suspect placed in custody. He is identified as Matthew Tyler Straughan, 28, of Mull Road, Lincolnton, NC.

Earlier today, employees told deputies when they arrived for work around 5:30 a.m. the white male was already in the business and they thought he may have been a new employee. The man stayed with the employees for another 30 minutes before taking the business van key and driving away from the business in the white in color 1998 Ford van. He is also accused of stealing candy, soft drinks, and a jar containing U.S. currency.

Detectives observed, on surveillance video, the man breaking into the front door of the business around 3:30 a.m. He was in the business when the workers reported for work but they entered through a rear door and didn’t notice the broken front door. The suspect placed food products in a backpack.

Straughan was taken before a magistrate where he was charged with one felony count each of breaking and entering a building, larceny after breaking and entering, and larceny of a motor vehicle in Lincoln County. He was charged in Burke County with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle. He is being held in the Burke County Jail.

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