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Topping man arrested for having sawed-off shotgun

From the Middlesex Sheriff

Shortly after 2 p.m. on April 29, Middlesex Sheriff deputies on patrol were advised to be on the lookout for a Jeep Cherokee with personalized Virginia license plates that was being operated in the Wake and Topping areas by a driver who was drinking and had a shotgun in the vehicle with him.

The Sheriff’s Office had received information from his spouse that the man had made threats to shoot several people as the result of some recent domestic problems. The Sheriff’s Office got a follow-up call a short time later reporting that the man had been to a store in Wake where he purchased beer and had attempted to purchase ammunition, but it was not in stock.

The man’s wife also had been told by a witness that he had sawed off his shotgun barrel and had it in the vehicle with him. 

Captain R.C. Green instructed the dispatcher to ask surrounding counties to be on the lookout for this vehicle and driver and instructed deputies Norman Sibley and Adam Miller to check with stores in the lower end of the county that sold shotgun ammunition.

Deputy Miller was just passing Hurd’s Hardware in Deltaville when he spotted a Jeep Cherokee passing him eastbound on Route 33. Miller turned around and was able to catch up with the vehicle near Horseshoe Bend Road on Route 33. After being able to verify that the personalized tag matched the information given earlier, Miller activated his emergency lights and siren, but the vehicle did not stop, and instead turned onto Greens Cove Road. 

Deputy Miller radioed in that the vehicle was not stopping and was heading toward the road’s dead end. The driver finally stopped once he was front bumper to front bumper with Miller’s marked patrol car as the suspect was coming out of the cul-de-sac. Miller ordered the driver to show his hands and to step out of the vehicle. 

The driver, identified as 43-year-old David Brian Potter of Topping, was taken into investigative detention by Miller, was patted down, handcuffed and placed in Miller’s vehicle. At that time, Captain Green arrived and consent was given by the suspect to search the vehicle. Miller reported to Green that he found several shotgun shells in Potter’s front pocket along with a pair of latex gloves when he patted him down.

In the search of the vehicle, Miller and Green found the sawed-off shotgun in the front floorboard on the passenger side. It had been concealed by a sweatshirt. There were shells found in with the weapon and boxes of shotgun shells were located in the vehicle as well, with a time-stamped cash register receipt from a Mathews County hunting and fishing supply store.

Part of a 12-pack of beer was found in the console area between the front driver and passenger seats, empty and half empty bottles were in the vehicle as well.

Potter was charged with possession of a sawed-off shotgun, possession of a concealed weapon, drinking while driving, and for having an open container. 

Potter was remanded to the MPRSC on the charges until a May 4 bond hearing. At that time the judge denied Potter’s bond eligibility in General District Court. Captain Green stated that the apprehension of Potter possibly saved at least four lives.

posted 05.08.2009

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