Thursday, June 13, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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Police make arrest of teen who broke into cars at city hall, stole gun, and planned ambush behind police HQ


Graham police have arrested a Graham teen who allegedly waited behind the police station on South Maple Street for an hour before sunrise last Thursday morning, intending to use a stolen handgun to ambush someone as they exited the rear of the building.

Jaylen Cordell Gales, 19, black male, of 738 Ivey Road, Apartment B, in Graham, was arrested Sunday during a traffic stop and charged with four counts of felony breaking and entering a motor vehicle, according to his Alamance County criminal court files.

While the plot never played out as planned – no one who was on duty at the time exited from the rear of the Graham police station – Graham police Sgt. Ben Edwards confirmed for the newspaper this week that a surveillance camera captured Gales as he waited behind the police station from approximately 3:30 a.m. until 4:30 a.m. last Thursday morning.

The Graham police department had issued a “be on the lookout” alert and posted surveillance images on the department’s Facebook page, asking for information about the suspect’s identity. “We were able to use a tip to identify him and conduct a traffic stop and take him into custody,” Edwards said Tuesday in an interview with The Alamance News.

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Gales is accused of breaking into multiple vehicles that had been parked overnight at the Graham police department, fire department, and city hall and stealing a .380- caliber Colt handgun from one of the vehicles. The Graham teen had allegedly planned to use the stolen firearm to shoot someone as they left from a back door at the police station, Edwards confirmed for the newspaper this week. No charges related to the stolen firearm had been filed by press time.

Edwards confirmed that the .380 Colt handgun was privately-owned – not a service revolver issued to a Graham police officer – and it was recovered during the traffic stop on Sunday. “I believe the gun was in the vehicle,” Edwards recalled in the interview.

Asked why Gales had not yet been charged with possession of a stolen firearm, Edwards said Tuesday that the investigation is still in progress.

Gales had not been booked at the Alamance County detention center. “He had some mental health concerns,” Edwards told the newspaper. “After that [the traffic stop], he was taken to the hospital for an evaluation. I believe a patrol unit transported him.” Gales was apprehended around 3:00 p.m. Sunday at the Exxon gas station at 508 South Main Street in Graham, Edwards confirmed in a subsequent interview Wednesday evening.

Alamance County court files give no indication that Gales has any prior criminal record. He has a pending case for an alleged speeding violation that occurred in December 2019. Gales is currently scheduled to appear in Alamance County criminal district court for the four felony charges on July 21.

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