Edward Lee Smith


By Beth Lawrence


The suspect wanted in a Sylva break-in called Asheville police for a ride to a homeless shelter. They took him out of the cold and into shelter, but it wasn’t what he had in mind. It was the shelter of the local jail.

Edward Lee Smith, 35, of Bryson City, was wanted for the Jan. 3 break-in at the Print Shak and Cristal and Co. Salon on East Main Street and the theft of the Print Shak’s delivery van.

Smith was apprehended in Asheville on Jan. 22. He called Asheville police for a code purple escort to a shelter. The low temperature that night was 17 degrees according to the AccuWeather website. When officers picked Smith up, they ran a check on him, found he was wanted in Sylva and took him into custody.

Smith was arrested for attempted breaking and entering, felony breaking and entering of a motor vehicle, injury to personal property, two counts larceny, possession of stolen goods, two counts felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle, two counts felony possession of methamphetamine, two counts possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts felony assault and physical injury to a probation and parole officer, resisting a public officer, felony breaking and entering, two counts injury to real property and shoplifting concealment of goods.

“Charges listed on our arrest report are old charges from failures to appear,” Sylva Police Chief Chris Hatton said.

Sylva Police say Smith was caught on security camera in the early hours of Jan. 3 entering the businesses.

“The front glass door was kicked through,” Hatton said. “From the video, it seems like the suspect used his foot or knee to bust through the door.”

The break-in left $1,000 damage to the store.

A customer found the door smashed in shortly before 8 a.m. and contacted employees who then called police. After entering the store, Smith rummaged through the store and stole clothing and approximately $180 in cash. He then stole the print shop’s van with a Sasquatch logo on the side, Hatton said.

Police shared video of the break-in on the department’s Facebook page, and Smith was identified as the suspect by late that afternoon.

The van was later recovered in Polk County.

“The engine was inoperable and part of the vinyl stickers on the back of the van had been removed,” Hatton said.

Warrants were sworn against Smith for breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and damage to property.

Smith was arrested in September for breaking into Visage Salon on West Main Street. He was, likewise, captured on security video in that case and quickly identified after police uploaded the images to Facebook.

After he was booked into the Jackson County Detention Center he was arrested for three counts breaking and entering, three counts larceny after breaking and entering, larceny of a motor vehicle, injury to real property, two counts injury to personal property, and breaking and entering a motor vehicle by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

He is being held in lieu of a $46,700 secured bond.