Couple sentenced for stealing guns

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A 28-year-old Newport, North Carolina woman and her 24-year-old boyfriend, of Newport News, were sentenced to one year in jail in Lunenburg County Circuit Court as the result of breaking into the house of her uncle in Lunenburg County and stealing eight pistols, shotguns and rifles as well as coins and jewelry.

According to Lunenburg County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement, the uncle had forbidden the couple, Jessica Penland and Dustin Knox, from being on his property, but on Sept. 7 a friend saw a vehicle with the two coming out of a back driveway.

“The uncle discovered the break-in and determined what was missing. He then went to a Food Lion store where he knew there was a coin-counting machine,” officials said in the release. “He was allowed to look at the video and identified Knox as the person depositing about $135 worth of coins in exchange for cash.”

The victim also discovered that some of the stolen property was being sold on the internet. Deputy Sheriff Tonya Woodson also received information that Knox was being investigated in Carteret County, N.C. for a burglary.

“The detective there determined that Jessica Penland had been at a pawn shop in the area and pawned two guns and a ring,” officials said in the release. “The serial numbers matched two of the stolen guns.”

The release cited that when arrested, Knox admitted to the crime. Penland denied complicity at first.

“They said they were both addicted to heroin and needed the money to continue their habit,” officials said in the release. “The couple each received an additional nineteen years suspended subject to conditions of good behavior, supervised probation, substance abuse counseling, staying off the property of the victim and having no contact with him, warrantless searches and restitution of just over $4,000.”