LINCOLNCOUNTY, N.C. -- Three people are behind bars after attempting to crack a gun safe and stealing power tools and two four-wheelers, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence in the 4700 block of Foxchase Lane in Alexis on Wednesday morning.

A neighbor told authorities he heard noise outside around 4:30 a.m. and went to investigate. That's when, he says, the saw three people near his outbuildings. They fled into the woods when he yelled at them.

After sunrise, the victim went back outside and checked-out the outbuildings. He says he spotted a black Buick parked nearby with a four-wheeler attached to it, along with a stolen air compressor inside the car.

The Sheriff's Office says one of the suspects, 34-year-old Jessica Leah Whitehead, of Belmont, then returned to the scene, unhooked the four-wheeler and unloaded the air compressor and attempted to flee, but not before hitting the victim in the knee with the car, who was attempting to stop her.

Authorities say Whitehead and two other men, Antonio Maurice McClure and Quan Artavius Hoyle, both of Gastonia, broke into two storage buildings and a trailer. They used a torch to cut the locks on one of the buildings, the Sheriff's Office says, while they removed a wall panel to gain access the other.

All in all, three electric drills and two four-wheelers were stolen, and officials say the trio attempted to use the cutting torch to open a gun safe. The four-wheelers, valued at $10,000, were recovered.

Whitehead, McClure and Hoyle are each charged with safecracking by opening a safe, breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods, breaking and entering a motor vehicle and attempted larceny.

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