On Tuesday, 07 June 2016 at 01:56 am, Morganton Public Safety officers received a call at the State Employees Credit Union on Enola Road. Officers were on scene within minutes of the call and found the front doors shattered by rocks. PSO J. Gragg checked the building and found a white male, later identified as James Dewey Pennington, 25, of High Point, standing in the lobby area near the bathrooms. PSOs Gragg and K. Puckett called out to the man to come outside to them and he refused, turning instead to enter the bathroom. The suspect shut the bathroom door and refused to come out. As other officers arrived on scene, including deputies from the Burke County Sheriff's Office, State Highway Patrol Trooper B. Clark and K9 Handler W. Miller with his partner Kimo, plans were made to bring the suspect out as safely as possible. Morganton officers and sheriff's deputies surrounded the building, covering all exits. Officers on scene did not know if the suspect had any weapons or if there were any more suspects in the building, so Sgt. R. Triplett decided to allow K9 Kimo to enter the building ahead of other officers. K9 Handler Miller gave repeated commands for suspects to show themselves and come out with their hands up or they may be bitten. After the third announcement, K9 Kimo was sent into the building. Kimo found no other suspects, but could not get through an inner door to the bathroom which was being held shut by the suspect. Sgt. Triplett, PSO Miller and other officers entered the building and forced the door open so K9 Kimo could get inside. As Sgt. Triplett pulled the door open from Pennington's grip, K9 Kimo rushed in and, finding Pennington standing with his hands in the air and not armed, guarded him without biting while officers took Pennington into custody.
Pennington was arrested and taken before the Burke County Magistrate where he received a $30,000 bond on charges of Breaking and Entering, Damage to Property, Resisting officers and Larceny. Pennington was placed into the custody of the Burke Catawba Detention Center awaiting a first appearance. Officers of the Morganton Department of Public Safety, Burke County Sheriff's Office and the NC State Highway Patrol were able to bring a quick and safe close to a dangerous situation through teamwork in this incident.