Exeter man charged for commercial burglary

An Exeter man is facing four felony charges after allegedly breaking into a business twice through the ceiling and stealing more than $7,300 in cash and property.

Austin Byron, 26, of Exeter, is charged with two counts of second-degree burglary, stealing $750 or more and first-degree property damage.

According to a probable cause statement filed by Det. Abby Parsons, with the Barry County Sheriff’s Office, at about 2:12 a.m. on Nov. 20, Parsons and another deputy were dispatched to a commercial building in Barry County for an alarm. Upon arrival, they made contact with the business owner and reporting party, and investigation determined someone had forced entry into an abandoned apartment located above the commercial building, then forced entry into the business through the ceiling.

The victim reported a Microsoft tablet valued at $200 was stolen from the property.

On the same day at 6:58 a.m., another deputy responded to the same commercial building for another burglary report, where the suspect allegedly entered from the same location.

“The reporting party advised someone had broken into the building again and stole money from the safe, along with keys for the ATM and lottery machine,” Parsons’ statement said. “The total dollar amount of money stolen was $7,190.”

On Nov. 22, deputies obtained video footage of the burglaries, which allegedly showed a male subject inside the building. Deputies identified the suspect as Bryon due to previous law enforcement contacts with Parsons and Det. Doug Henry, also with the Sheriff’s Office.

The cost of damage to the building had not been determined as of the time the probable cause statement was filed, but the total was expected to exceed $750.

Bryon is a suspect in multiple other commercial burglaries within the county, and has a history of fleeing from officers and escaping confinement.

He was sentenced to five years supervised probation in June 2022 for felony resisting arrest, as well as five years supervised probation in September 2022 for escaping from confinement. Both cases were a suspended execution of a four-year prison sentence.

He also has a probation citation report filed on both cases on March 28, 2023.

Bryon was arrested on Dec. 27, a week after his warrant was issued. He is being held in the Barry County jail on a cash-only bond of $15,000. A bond modification in the case was denied, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2024, at 2 p.m. in the courtroom of Judge Robert Foulke.