This week in history: June 12

June 10, 2013 

This photo of downtown Zebulon was taken at 5:30 a.m. in June 2003.

2003 FILE PHOTO

There’s never any shortage of news. Find out what made headlines in eastern Wake County newspapers 10, 25 and 50 years ago in stories culled from our archives.

2003

A top story in the June 12, 2003 Eastern Wake News was “Belk robbed.”

An unidentified man stole thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from the Zebulon Hudson Belk on Monday afternoon, filling a garbage bag with shirts in seconds before escaping out the front door.

When the suspect – described by witnesses as a 6-foot, thin African-American dressed in a dark shirt, dark jeans and a dark cap – entered the clothing store around 1:15 p.m., men’s sales associate Marilyn Wright said she immediately questioned his intentions.

Wright said the man was chewing on an “unlit” cigar and looked “suspicious.”

As she was assisting customers at the cash register, the suspect proceeded to the Tommy Hilfiger display booth only about 20 feet away from the register and began stuffing merchandise in a yellow-handled black garbage bag he had hidden among his clothes. Moments later, carrying the bag in Santa-like fashion over his shoulder, the suspect fled and sounded the alarms.

Manager Tre Stallings said he chased the thief into the parking lot and saw him flee in a blue-green Chevrolet truck heading toward Arendell Avenue. Stallings was able to record the license plate number, but concedes the suspect could have stolen the plates.”

1988

From the June 16, 1988 Gold Leaf Farmer: “New Wendell Library targeted for automation.”

Computer automation will eventually be installed in the new Wake County Public Library System branch under construction in Wendell.

Thomas L. Moore, director of the Wake library system, said the county has signed an automation contract and will begin phasing in computer equipment in branches over a three-year period. A consultant estimated the cost of automation in Wake County at $1.2 million.

Moore said the construction of the new Wendell facility does not automatically mean it will be automated when it first opens.

“Right now, in terms of our schedule of automation, we only know the first branch (Garner) that will be automated,” Moore said. “Within three years, Wendell will be fully automated.

When the computer-automated systems are completely functional, library patrons will access the branches’ holdings using a computer terminal that will ultimately replace the card catalog.

1963

A notice by the Southern Bell Telephone Company in the June 13, 1963 Zebulon Record shared some good news with its customers in the area.

“In response to numerous requests from subscribers in Zebulon, we have under consideration a plan for handling all telephone calls between the Zebulon-Wendell and Raleigh-Knightdale exchanges on a toll-free basis.

This would mean that you could dial directly and be dialed by the more than 63,000 telephones connected with the Knightdale exchange with no long distance toll charges applying to these calls. There would be no limit to the number of calls that could be made.

Most of our Zebulon customers make frequent calls to Raleigh and Knightdale and would like to make a great deal more if a toll charge did not apply on each call.”

The phone company planned to mail survey-type letters to its customers to allow them to vote for or against the new service – why someone would be against additional free service, who knows.

“It will take about 18 months to provide the necessary equipment for the new service, if the telephone subscribers vote that they desire this service,” the notice read.

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