SHERIFF: Drone technology helps assist in Bertie County carjack arrests

BERTIE COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – The Bertie County Sheriff’s Office is thanking drone technology for helping make an arrest in an armed carjacking.

According to deputies, they received a ‘Be On The Lookout’ from Martin County on Saturday for a vehicle that was carjacked in Oak City by an armed suspect.

Around 7:45 p.m., Sergeant H. Williams and Deputy D. Pillmon were driving in the area of Lewiston when they noticed a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle that was carjacked in Martin County.

According to Sheriff Tyrone Ruffin, Sgt. Williams and Deputy Pillmon tried to stop the vehicle on Highway 11 near Aulander. When they turned on their emergency lights to stop the vehicle, the driver of the vehicle did not stop and drove off, going more than 100 mph.

While Sgt. Williams and Deputy Pillmon were following the vehicle, Sgt. Williams noticed a second vehicle that was trailing and following the suspected carjacked vehicle. According to Ruffin, the second vehicle was later found to be involved in the carjacking.

As the chase continued towards Hertford County, Ruffin said Bertie County Communications notified law enforcement in Hertford County. Once the vehicle crossed into Hertford County, The North Carolina State Highway Patrol was able to successfully spike strip the vehicle.

After spike-striping the vehicle, the driver exited the vehicle and ran. Law enforcement from Bertie, Hertford, Ahoskie, and NCSHP set a perimeter in the area.

K9 units and drone units were used in the search. Around 10:45 p.m., a drone unit operated by Officer T. Pennington from the Ahoskie Police Department found the suspect on top of a construction tent and officers said they were able to arrest the suspect.

According to deputies, the suspect is Devonte Jamal Cofield and he was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, first-degree kidnapping, assault by pointing a gun, possession of a stolen vehicle, felony flee to elude arrest, and possession of marijuana.

During the initial search for Cofield, officers say they noticed the second vehicle from before that was following the carjacked vehicle circling the area of the search. Officers were able to stop the vehicle and after looking through video surveillance with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, they determined that the people in the second vehicle dropped Cofield off.

Lamajae Ki’tory Norfleet was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Sheriff Tyrone Ruffin states, “This is another great example of law enforcement agencies working closely together to remove violent criminals from our streets. This is also another great example of why law enforcement agencies must have the technology and resources we have. I commend each of the officers and agencies involved in apprehending the suspects including, Bertie County Communications, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Hertford County Sheriff’s Office.”