Burglar identified and arrested

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The Macon County Sheriff’s Office has submitted the following release.

On Monday, Dec. 20, Macon County detectives arrested local Fed-Ex driver Gregory Thomas Bufkin, in relation to numerous break-ins in the Highlands/Scaly Mountain area. 

During the last several weeks, multiple thefts have been reported in the Highlands area.  Detectives with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office have conducted multiple interviews and followed up on several leads which did not result in any arrest or recovery of property.  Investigators have also been working closely with the Highlands Police Department during the course of these investigations.  On Monday, Dec. 20, a homeowner called Sheriff Holland about seeing a deputy inside her residence on her home surveillance camera and wanted to know what was going on and why a deputy was in her residence.  Sheriff Holland contacted the deputy assigned to the Highlands area and learned that the deputy was still inside the residence and was there because someone reported an open door and he was currently searching the home for any intruders. The deputy determined that there was no one in the residence.  Later in the day, the same homeowner contacted Sheriff Holland and reported having a man on video earlier in the day on her security camera.  Homeowner said he appeared to be wearing shorts and was there for just a brief time and fled when he saw her camera.  Investigators with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office were able to identify that individual and were able to quickly locate him at his residence.  Investigators were also able to confirm the man seen in the video was a FedEx driver who worked in the Highlands area. Interviews were conducted with the suspect who was identified as  Bufkin.  Investigators seized several pieces of evidence which included multiple pieces of jewelry and two firearms.  Some of the items seized were found to be inside Bufkin’s work vehicle.

At the time, MCSO was able to tie Bufkin to thefts in at least 11 Breaking and Enterings in the Highlands area. However, as of Tuesday night, Sheriff Holland released a statement that said that 12 break-ins were tied to Bufkin and that many items were recovered from his FedEx vehicle and his home in the form of cash, liquor, jewelry and firearms. 

This is an on-going investigation and additional charges are forthcoming.

Additional incidents are expected to be reported in the coming days and weeks as part time residents return to their vacation homes.  As with these cases, most of the residences victimized were because they were found to have unlocked doors and open windows.  

Bufkin’s charges include: Seven counts of Felony Possess Stolen Goods; Seven counts Breaking and Entering; Seven counts Larceny after Breaking and Entering; Six counts Larceny of a Firearm. 

At the time of his initial arrest Bufkin was being held at the Macon County Detention Center under a $180,000 secured bond. Following the discovery of additional stolen items and his link to another break-in, the bond was increased to $200,000..

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Macon County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division (828) 349-2107. Download the Macon County Sheriff’s Office App and provide tips anonymously from your cell phone or call our CRIMESTOPPERS Hotline at (828)349-2600.

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