Former MD Senate Candidate Lawless Charged with Jewelry Store Burglaries in NC

UPDATE: Click here for a follow-up piece on this issue.

“Lawless arrested” reads the headline at from November 24,2010.

The article goes on to provide details of the arrest that day of Benjamin Levi Lawless, whose address is given as Richlands, North Carolina. To summarize what happened, police were investigating the burglary of two jewelry stores early in the morning of November 21. At that point, there was no suspect. Both stores had the glass doors at their entrances smashed in and watches stolen.

Police in nearby Morehead City contacted Jacksonville Police about a similar break-in at a jewelry store there. Watches stolen in the Morehead City store were pawned in Jacksonville by Lawless, according to police. The Morehead City burglary was deemed to be similar to the two burglaries in Jacksonville. In fact, Jacksonville Police say they discovered that a traffic stop of Lawless was made in Jacksonville in the area of one of the burglarized stores around the time the burglaries took place. Police (including the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department) served a search warrant on the Lawless residence and say they recovered a “large quantity” of watches, clothes he allegedly wore during the break-ins, and the tire iron police say he used to smash through the glass doors. Police say Lawless confessed and he was ordered held on $26,000 bond. No news reports or other records online indicate whether he posted the bond or not.

According to the NC Court System, Lawless has a court date on a speeding ticket on January 13 in Carteret County, NC. That may or may not be from the traffic stop mentioned above. Lawless also has a court date on February 14 in Carteret County on three of the charges. Morehead City is located in Carteret County. On February 16, he has a court date in Onslow County on four of the charges. Onslow County borders Carteret County and includes Jacksonville as well as Camp Lejeune (Lawless is a Marine Corps veteran.)

Lawless was a Republican candidate for the State Senate in District 8. He originally had been planning a run for Congress in the Third Congressional District (represented by John Sarbanes) before he moved to Nottingham, where he decided to run for the senate seat held by Sen. Kathy Klausmier. In the Republican Primary, Lawless was defeated by Dee Hodges by approximately 2500 votes (72%-28%.) Hodges went on to lose to the incumbent senator.

In a June interview with M.R. Newman at, Lawless discussed his reasons for running and indicated that he would focus on balancing the state budget, making health care costs affordable, and changing the state’s gun laws to make Maryland a “shall issue” state for concealed weapons permits. He also said he would support a state constitutional convention. Newman also asked Lawless about a fundraiser, or “shoot-off”, that he had at a local gun range.

Also in June, Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland took Lawless to task for claiming to be on Bob Ehrlich’s short-list of potential Lt. Governor candidates. At the time, Lawless was 25 and the minimum age for that office is 30.

Lawless had originally scheduled a gala fundraiser with conservative pundit Ann Coulter to be held at the Tremont Grand in downtown Baltimore. Liberal pundits, including Oliver Willis, blasted him for it at the time. The event had a price tag of $750-$5000 depending on the level of money given. The gala was “postponed” from August 8 until after the primary - leading some to speculate that ticket sales were too lackluster to even pay Coulter’s fees (estimated to be $30,000 plus expenses and travel.) The website for the gala is still up, while the Lawless campaign site is down.

There were rumors since the election that something was going on with Lawless. We heard of strange postings made on his Facebook account and rumors of legal troubles somewhere in the Carolinas. After it came to our attention, we found the information contained in this piece. We haven’t seen this reported by any of the media outlets in the Baltimore area, so we are bringing it to you now.

The complete news release on the Lawless arrest from the Jacksonville Police Department is below the fold.

UPDATE: Click here for a follow-up piece on this issue.

Jacksonville, NC Police release:

B & E Suspect Apprehended After Multi Jurisdictional Investigation
November 24, 2010

As a result of a joint investigation with the Morehead City Police Department, Jacksonville Police have
arrested Benjamin Levi Lawless, 26, of 1120 Ben Williams Road, Richlands, in conjunction with two
Breaking and Entering incidents at retail businesses in the City.

During the early morning hours of Sunday, November 21, 2010, two retail jewelry sales businesses, The
Corner Jewelers, 233 Western Boulevard, and Time Hour Square, 210 Brynn Marr Road, were broken
into with the front glass doors of the business being smashed with a blunt object. There was no suspect
information at the time these crimes occurred.

Detectives from the Morehead City Police Department advised JPD of a case they had under
investigation involving a break-in and theft of several watches at JR Dunn Jewelers in Morehead City.
The goods stolen from JR Dunn Jewelers were traced to Jacksonville, where they were pawned by
Benjamin Levi Lawless. The detectives determined that the incidents in Jacksonville and Morehead
City occurred in a similar manner.

A review of JPD officer reports noted that Benjamin Lawless had been stopped in the area of 233
Western Blvd. during the time of the break-ins, which provided information regarding to Lawless’
presence in the area after the break-ins took place.

A search warrant for Mr. Lawless’ residence, person, and vehicles was secured as a result of the
additional information and criminal arrest warrants. The warrants were served with the assistance of the
Onslow Sheriff’s Department at 1120 Ben Williams Road. A large quantity of stolen watches was
recovered, as well as the clothing worn by Lawless during the break-ins, and the tire-iron used in the
incidents. Lawless made a full confession to his involvement in the crimes in Jacksonville and
Morehead City and was taken into custody without incident. He remains in custody at the Onslow
County Jail under $26,000 secured bond.

Benjamin Levi Lawless, 26
1120 Ben Williams Road, Richlands
$26,000 secured bond
Felony Breaking & Entering (2 counts)
Felony Larceny
Felony Possession of Stolen Property
Obtaining Property By False Pretense
Injury To Personal Property (2 counts)

1 Comment »

  1. 1

    [...] our previous piece on the late November arrest of former Maryland State Senate candidate Ben Lawless, we discussed rumors about strange postings on the internet and other rumors we heard. We have now [...]

    Pingback by Ben Lawless: “I have always been a psychopath and sociopath” | Inside Charm City: Baltimore, Maryland blog — January 10, 2011 @ 9:54 am

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