Officials from Catawba County Animal Services removed 358 animals from a residence in Claremont yesterday (May 24). The animals were discovered the previous day during an unrelated investigation by the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office. After obtaining a warrant, the chickens, dogs and a cat were removed by Animal Services.
Catawba County officials are investigating whether the chickens were used for cockfighting. Many of the animals appeared to be injured with open sores and missing feathers. Others were sick and showed signs of neglect. In addition to the live animals, officials also found 40 dead animals in cages and pens.
The animals were taken to a secure location and immediately fed and hydrated. They are being examined by veterinarians and tested for communicable diseases. They are also being evaluated for potential re-homing. Catawba County is working with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture to assure the humane treatment of the animals and that all steps are being taken to protect the public’s health.
The investigation is ongoing. Findings from the investigation will be shared with the District Attorney.
The Conover Fire Department responded to Rock Barn Country Club & Spa this morning (May 25) where smoke alarms forced the evacuation of the spa.
WHKY spoke to Captain Mark Stafford who said that the problem originated with a dryer that failed to vent properly. He said that there was no actual fire, but the dryer vented steam and other particulants into the downstairs area in the spa, setting off the smoke alarms.
Firefighters responded at 10:20 a.m. Guests and employees were allowed to go back inside at about 11:30 a.m. No one was injured and no property damage was reported.
Captain Stafford said maintenance work was performed on the dryers yesterday. In the course of that work, material was dislodged from the interior of the dryers’ ventilation system. Because of high humidity, the material was not cleared from the pipes, but instead became trapped in an elbow joint where it formed a blockage.
The man wanted in connection to a bank robbery that occurred in April in Newton has been arrested in Midland, Texas. 50-year-old Melvin Andrew Williamson of Durham was arrested by Midland Police Wednesday (May 24). He was arrested in connection to the robbery of Community National Bank in Midland, that robbery occurred Tuesday. A warrant has been issued for Williamson for the Newton robbery.
A tip sent to the Midland Crime Stoppers led police to find Williamson. Williamson has been a person of interest for the April 26 robbery of the First Citizens Bank in Newton and various other bank robberies across North Carolina. A news release from the Newton Police Department says Williamson confessed to the robbery in Midland and also to six bank robberies in North Carolina including the First Citizens heist.
According to authorities, Williamson was robbing banks to support his drug habit. The news release states that it appears that when Williamson ran out of money he would rob a bank and use the money for drugs until he could get to his next location to rob again. Investigators with the Newton Police Department have secured warrants for common law robbery for Williamson.
Williamson must go through the extradition process in Texas before being returned to North Carolina to face additional charges. Agencies participating and assisting in the investigation along with the Newton Police Department were the Hickory PD, Mocksville PD, Mebane PD, Durham PD, FBI, SBI, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Midland Texas PD.
The Newton Fire Department will begin conducting annual fire hydrant maintenance and testing in the southeast quadrant of the city on May 29.
The southeast quadrant of the city includes areas south of A Street and east of Main Avenue. Maintenance and testing will continue for several weeks. Residents in the area may experience a discoloration of their water due to minerals inside underground water lines being disturbed. If water discoloration is experienced, allowing water to run from any faucet for several minutes should eliminate the discoloration.
Fire hydrant testing is crucial to locating fire hydrants that are inoperable or need repair. In addition, the North Carolina Department of Insurance requires annual fire hydrant testing for the purposes of grading municipal water systems, which determines municipal insurance ratings.
The city of Newton apologizes for any inconvenience residents encounter during the testing period. Any questions or concerns should be directed to Newton Fire Department at 828-695-4314.
26-year-old David Alexander Cobb was arrested Wednesday (May 24) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance. Cobb was placed in jail in Morganton under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for Friday (May 26).
The city-owned parking lot in the 300 block of Main Avenue NW in Hickory, commonly referred to as the Old Duke Energy Lot, will close for maintenance tonight (Thursday, May 25) at 7:00 and will reopen at 6 a.m. next Tuesday, May 30.
The lot will be resealed to extend the life of the pavement, as well as create a new striping plan that will optimize parking in this area and accommodate more customers, including leased spaces and new three-hour free spaces to accommodate the addition of Lowes Foods City Park demands.
While the work is being completed, customers may park in the following locations:
On the street along Main Avenue SW between 3rd Street SW and 4th Street SW, or along Main Avenue NW between 3rd Street NW and 4th Street NW. In Lot #4 and Lot #7 near the intersection of Main Avenue NW and 4th Street NW. Or on the street along 1st Street SW between Government Avenue and 2nd Avenue SW.
There have been new names recently added to the Burke County Sheriff's Office Most Wanted List.
29-year-old Tashia May Reynolds is wanted by the Burke County Sheriff's Office for failure to appear on a felony. Reynolds last known address was 104 2nd Avenue SW in Hildebran. She was added to the Most Wanted List last Friday, May 19.
29-year-old Samuel Leonard Benge is wanted by authorities in Burke County for felony probation violation. The last known address for Benge was 3501 Smith Road in Morganton. He was also added to the Most Wanted List last Friday.
You can see the entire list of wanted suspects at the Burke County Sheriff's Office website, www.burkesheriff.org. If you have any information about any of the suspects on the list call the Sheriff's Office at 828-438-5500. You can also e-mail information to firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit an anonymous tip to Morganton/Burke Crime Stoppers. The Crime Stoppers phone number is 828-437-3333.
19-year-old Anthony Demarco Maldonado of Herman Road in Claremont was arrested just before 6 p.m. yesterday (May 24) on charges filed by the Hickory Police Department. Maldonado was arrested for felony possession of a firearm by a felon. He was also charged by Probation & Parole Officers with second-degree burglary and a probation violation. According to H.P.D.’s arrest report, Maldonado was armed with a handgun at the time of his arrest.
He was taken into custody without incident at a restaurant on 13th Avenue Drive S.E. where he is employed. Maldonado was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond on the firearms charge, plus a $15,000 bond on the other charges. A District Court appearance was set for today (May 25) with a Superior Court coming up tomorrow, both in Newton.
25-year-old Eric William Greene of East Klutz Street in Maiden was arrested Wednesday (May 24) by Maiden Police Officers. He's charged with possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia. Greene was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $7,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (May 25).
53-year-old Jeffrey Brent Church of Edwards Circle in Connelly Springs has been arrested by the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Inner-County Counterdrug Enforcement (I.C.E.) Unit on charges of felony trafficking in methamphetamine by possession and trafficking in meth by transportation.
Church had been the focus of an undercover drug investigation for several months. He was initially arrested and charged with trafficking in meth on April 27 after a search warrant was executed at his residence on Pinewood Road in Granite Falls. During that search, just over $9,000 in cash, firearms, approximately 39 grams of meth and 53 oxycodone pills were seized. At that time, Church was released after posting bond for pending drug charges in both Catawba and Caldwell counties.
Yesterday (May 23), Church was arrested following a vehicle stop on White Pine Drive in Sawmills as the result of a separate investigation conducted by the I.C.E. Unit. Church was found to be in possession of approximately 56.5 grams of meth, two pistols, and $4,637 in cash. The drugs seized during both operations have an estimated street value of $16,935.
Following his most recent arrest, Church was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond. He’ll make a first appearance in District Court tomorrow in Lenoir.
Additional charges are expected.
Nine suspects face charges in connection to an investigation in Lincoln County. According to a news release issued today (Wednesday, May 24) by the Lincolnton Police Department, On September 22, 2016, detectives with the Lincolnton Police Department served several felony drug related warrants on 36-year-old Paul Richard Walton, Jr., AKA “Pooh-Pooh” and “Pretty Paul.”
Among the felony drug warrants served was a charge for continuing criminal enterprise. The investigation was open and several other arrests were expected. Eight other co-defendants were either charged or waiting to be charged as a result of this investigation. Continuing criminal enterprise is a Class C Felony and if convicted the defendants can serve between 44 months to 210 months in the North Carolina Department of Corrections, depending on their prior records.
Paul Walton is currently in the Lincoln County Jail with a $250,000 secured bond. He has additional pending charges other than the Continuing Criminal Enterprise to include 14 counts of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine along with several additional drug offenses.
According to the news release, the other suspects charged in connection to the Continuing Criminal Enterprise include the following individuals: Paul Walton’s brother, 34-year-old William Perry Walton, AKA “Bookie." Their mother, 64-year-old Elizabeth Hall Walton. 35-year-old Shamaine Antwan Edwards, AKA “Duck." 30-year-old Michael Odell Fair, AKA “UFO” and “Unidentified." 40-year-old Connell Jerome Forney, Jr. 26-year-old Brittany Danielle Sigmon. 33-year-old Dwayne Percell Sledge, Jr., AKA “New York." and 45-year-old William Lee Hall, AKA “Chilly Willie."
The news release lists various charges including drug counts filed against all of the suspects, with the exception of Sigmon, her charges are not listed. This specific case started from citizen complaints involving Paul Walton and reports of his alleged illegal drug distribution, specifically at his residence located in the Oaklawn community.
18-year-old Corey Jermaine Brodie of Zion Church Road in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 7 p.m. yesterday (May 23) on one felony count of obtaining property by false pretenses.
Events leading to his arrest began earlier in the day when a subject shoplifted a multi-device flash drive from the Target store on Catawba Valley Boulevard in Hickory. Police responded to the store as the subject attempted to return the stolen flash drive. The suspect had left the store by the time Police arrived.
Later, a person matching the suspect description was a passenger in a 2014 Ford Mustang that was stopped on Highway 70 S.E. He was identified as Corey Brodie.
Brodie was taken into custody without incident. He was released into his mother’s custody under a $1,000 secured bond. Brodie was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today in Newton.
43-year-old Joseph Bob Mays, Jr. of 13th Avenue S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 11:40 Tuesday morning (May 23) on one felony count each of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver heroin and possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. He was also charged with misdemeanor possession of a schedule VI controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was arrested after Hickory Police responded to an anonymous call regarding a drug overdose at a hotel on 13th Avenue Drive S.E. in Hickory. Officers arrived and found an unresponsive female subject in the hotel room. She treated and transported to Frye Regional Medical Center. According to Police, the female subject was responsive as of 3:30 yesterday afternoon.
Joseph Mays was also in the room. A search led to the discovery of five dosage units of Alprazolam, 8.3 grams of methamphetamine, 2.6 grams of heroin and 1.5 grams of marijuana.
Mays was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $50,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for today (May 24) in Newton.
19-year-old Thomas Noah Taylor was arrested today (Wednesday, May 24) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of a weapon by a felon and probation violation. Taylor was placed in jail under $15,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for Friday (May 26) in Morganton.
29-year-old Jeffrey Todd Crouse was arrested this morning (Wednesday, May 24) by authorities in Lincoln County. He's charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Crouse was arrested at an address on South Industrial Park Road. He was placed in jail under $13,000 secured bond, a court date was scheduled for today.
Investigators with the Statesville Police Department, conducting an ongoing investigation into the operation of illegal sweepstakes style gaming machine locations, executed simultaneous search warrants on Monday evening (May 22) at three locations. All three locations operate under the name “Pure Fire.” The addresses are 112 Signal Hill Drive, 3442 East Broad Street, and 1470 West Front Street.
As a result of the searches at all three locations, Investigators worked late into the night and seized in excess of 120 electronic gaming machines and computers along with U.S. currency. The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending against the owners/operators of the establishments.
Sweepstakes style games are illegal to maintain and operate in the State of North Carolina.
A suspect charged with multiple drug offenses has reportedly been arrested in connection to a poppy field discovered in Catawba County. 37-year-old Cody Xiong of C Avenue in Hickory was arrested Tuesday (May 23) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with manufacturing schedule II controlled substance and trafficking opium or heroin.
Published reports say Xiong's arrest is connected to the discovery of a large opium poppy field on Poultry Lane near Claremont. The reports said undercover officers with the Catawba County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant for the field Tuesday morning.
Poppy plants are grown to create opium, which is used to make drugs such as heroin. It is against the law to grow poppy plants in North Carolina. The published reports say that authorities estimate that the plants found in Catawba County are worth half a billion dollars.
Xiong was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $45,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (May 24).
41-year-old Cornelius Montreal Peeler of Langston Drive in Shelby was arrested early this morning (Wednesday, May 24) by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle.
Hickory Police responded to a report of the theft of a vehicle from an address on 12th Street Drive NW. Relatives of the victim found the vehicle at S & S Automotive and Body Shop on Airport Rhodhiss Road. Police received information stating that Peeler left the vehicle at the business for repairs needed due to a wreck. Peeler returned to the shop and was arrested.
He was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $5,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today.
According to multiple published reports, a large opium poppy field was found on Poultry Lane near Claremont. The reports say undercover officers with the Catawba County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant for the field this morning (Tuesday, May 23).
Poppy plants are grown to create opium, which is used to make drugs such as heroin. It is against the law to grow poppy plants in North Carolina. The published reports say that officers estimate that the plants found in Catawba County are worth half a billion dollars.
WHKY will have more details as the Sheriff's Office releases them.
Just before 10:15 this morning (May 23), Statesville Police responded to a reported home invasion that took place at a mobile home on Park Drive in Statesville. Officers found an adult male stabbing victim and a female victim across the street at a neighbor’s residence where they went to seek help.
Investigators learned that two suspects kicked open the mobile home’s front door and then kicked open the 43-year-old male victim’s bedroom door. A struggle ensued in the bedroom and the male victim was stabbed. The 55-year-old female victim said one of the suspects forced open her bedroom door and dragged her from the bedroom.
Both suspects fled from the mobile home park on foot, headed east, possibly into a wooded area. The suspects were described as two black males with dark clothing. They had their hoodies pulled up and may have been wearing bandanas. One of the suspects may have been armed with a handgun.
The male victim was initially taken to Iredell Memorial Hospital. He was later transferred, in stable condition, to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem for further treatment. The female victim was not injured. The victim’s names have not been released.
The investigation is in its early stages. Police cannot say at this time if the incident is connected to another home invasion last week at an 81-year-old male victim’s residence on Stockton Street.
Anyone with information should contact Statesville Police at 704-878-3406 or Iredell Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340. Callers can remain anonymous.