Sheriff Darren Campbell stated beginning on June 10th 2016, Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to the area of Seedhouse Road Statesville in reference to a breaking and entering to a residence. It was reported in that incident that the suspect(s) entered the home and stole prescription medication, firearm, and electronics. In the weeks that followed Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to several other residences where similar crimes were reported.
It was determined early on by Detectives the crimes were related based on several factors including the method of entry and items stolen. In addition the suspect was isolated to the East Iredell area because soon after the first break in was discovered in the eastern part of the county similar crimes were discovered on the West side of the county.
Detectives investigating these case spoke with victims, neighbors and any others who may have information. Early in the investigations Detectives spoke with witnesses who described a vehicle that was seen in the area further connecting the crimes.
On Saturday July 2nd Deputies were called to the area of Society Road where the home owner arrived home, and discovered that someone was breaking into his home. The homeowner reported that the suspect stole jewelry, electronics and tools. The homeowner was able to provide a description of both the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle.
This information matched the description of John Christopher Gatton who had been identified as a suspect in another break in that occurred prior to Society Road. Detectives had been trying to locate and question Gatton, but he was already on the run for a Parole Violation and had no known address. Based on the totality of all the information Detectives drew additional warrants on Gatton for Breaking and Entering and Larceny.
An intensive search began for Gatton which included locating any known friends or associates. During this part of the investigation Detectives identified Dustin Alan Belcher as a subject who was with Gatton on one or more of the home break-ins. Belcher was located and arrested for his part in the break in’s.
In addition Christina Magan Wyatt was also found to be a person who participated in Gatton’s crime spree. It was determined that she assisted in one of the break in’s and took part in trading the stolen goods for drugs. She was also arrested and charged with her part in the crimes and faces additional charges for Identity Theft and Providing False Information to a Law Enforcement Officer.
On July 6th Detectives gathered information indicating that Gatton had left Iredell County and was possibly in Mt. Holly, North Carolina. The information led investigators to believe that Gatton was leaving town due to Investigators and Deputies searching for him. On July 7th Detectives learned that Gatton was in an area on Windermere Rd Mt. Holly, NC. Iredell County Detectives drove to the area of Windermere Rd, and located an address where Gatton had been staying. With the assistance of Gaston County Police Department John Christopher Gatton was arrested without incident.
John Christopher Gatton is no stranger to the criminal justice system and was in violation of his Parole only recently being taken off the ankle monitor. Gatton’s criminal history spanned over 30 years with his first felony arrest in 1985. His criminal history includes multiple breaking and entering and larceny offences, drug arrests, Forgery, Escape from Custody, financial crimes with his last active sentence being a conviction for Habitual Felon. Gatton’s history indicates that often a plea bargain was given for multiple felonies allowing Gatton to serve a reduced sentence. Once released Gatton would be arrested again and go back to prison.
Records indicate that Gatton has been arrested and charged with over 100 felony offences and over 35 Misdemeanors prior to his latest arrest. In addition records indicate that he has been convicted of 31 Felonies and multiple Misdemeanors. In all Gatton has been sentenced to an active sentence and released only to be re-arrested at least five times with many of the sentence running together.
At the time of his latest arrest Gatton was on Parole for Habitual Felon. Gatton is now suspected of committing over 60 felony offences since his release from custody less than six months ago. Gatton is currently in custody under a NO Bond for the parole violation and $225,000 for the new offences.
Dustin Alan Belcher was arrested and charged in connection with one breaking and entering and given a $20,000.00 Secured Bond. Christina Magan Wyatt who was also on Parole in reference to charges of Assault with a Deadly Inflicting Serious Injury was arrested and charged with violating her Parole, and given a NO BOND. In addition Wyatt was given a $50,000.00 Secured Bond for her new charges.
The investigation is ongoing and there will likely be additional arrest made. Anyone with information concerning these case is asked to call the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division.