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Monday, 11 May 2015 14:47

Grow Operation Found in Iredell County

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Thomas Eugene Allen has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on charges of manufacturing marijuana, maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Events leading to Allen’s arrest unfolded as the Sheriff’s Aggressive Criminal Enforcement team received community complaints regarding drug trafficking at an address on Elmwood Road in Statesville. Officers responded and spoke to the resident, Thomas Allen.

Officers then searched the property where they found an indoor grow operation for marijuana in an outbuilding. Among the items found were grow lamps, air circulation units, watering systems, chemicals, fertilizers and marijuana. Narcotics Officers also responded and assisted in the disassembly and seizure of the grow operation. All the property seized was secured and placed into evidence.

No bond information or court dates are currently listed.

Hickory Police are investigating a fatal drug overdose in northwest Hickory. A 21-year-old woman was visiting a residence on 12th Street Place N.W. when she passed away. Police believe the woman died in the early morning hours today (May 11).

The investigation is ongoing, but an H.P.D. spokesperson said there does not appear to be anything out of the ordinary regarding the woman’s death. An H.P.D. spokesperson did not release the victim’s name or the type of drug that caused her death.

Toxicology testing is likely and an autopsy is possible.

43-year-old Stephen Todd Lipe of Clontz Hill Road in Troutman has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on charges of making a false report and misuse of 9-1-1.

At 4:43 Friday afternoon (May 8), Stephen Lipe made a 9-1-1 call reporting a breaking & entering at his address. Lipe said someone had thrown a brick through his back door and removed two handguns, 120 dosage units of Oxycodone and a Kindle Fire tablet. Major Todd Carver responded to the scene and began gathering information.

Investigators learned that Lipe had made similar reports on two other occasions in the past year and a half. They also learned that Lipe was wanted on three outstanding orders for his arrest for failure to appear in court.

Deputies responded and processed the area for evidence. It became apparent that there had not been a break-in because the door Lipe said the burglars used could not be forced open. Lipe then admitted to staging the scene.

He was arrested and taken to the Iredell County Jail under a $3,500 secured bond. Court dates were set for June 10, June 16 and July 10.

32-year-old Richard Alton Welsh of Chestnut Ridge Road and 40-year-old Windy Arlene Stroessner of Mary’s Grove Church Road, both from Kings Mountain, were arrested by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Officers Friday (May 11) after an Undercover Officer allegedly purchased 30 grams of methamphetamine from the suspects.

The two were charged with felony trafficking in methamphetamine, conspiracy and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Welsh was also charged with maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance. In addition, Stroessner was charged with possession or distribution of meth precursors.

The drugs purchased were valued at $1,800 to $3,000, depending on how they are packaged for sale. Following the purchase, Narcotics Investigators and Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Steve Grinnell and 1st Sgt. Allen Manns stopped the suspect vehicle on the Highway 321 northbound ramp at Exit 20.

Both suspects were taken into custody without incident. After receiving consent to search the vehicle, Officers discovered all the precursors needed to make meth.

Welsh was placed in the Lincoln County Detention Center under a $120,000 secured bond. Bond for Stroessner was set at $100,000, secured. First appearances in Lincoln County District Court were scheduled for today (May11).

48-year-old Leonard Jay Hayes has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers for indecent liberties with a child.

His arrest was the result of a report filed with the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office on March 31 of this year in reference to the sexual assault of a child in northern Iredell County. The child told one of her parents that Leonard Jay Hayes had committed lewd acts with her between March 1 and May 2 of 2014. The incidents occurred on multiple occasions during that two-month period.

The investigation was assigned to Detective Sgt. Jason Lowrance of the Sheriff’s Special Victim’s Unit. The child and additional witnesses were interviewed by Detectives. As a result of the investigation, Hayes was charged with eight counts of indecent liberties with a child - committing lewd & lascivious acts upon a child under the age of 16.

Hayes was arrested last Thursday (May 7) and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $300,000 secured bond. He will next appear in District Court on May 29.

In 1997, Hayes was arrested by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office for indecent liberties involving a nine-year-old child.  

The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office was involved in a standoff in the Globe community. They were still at the scene as of 2:00 this afternoon. According to a published report, deputies were first called around 9:30 p.m. Sunday to a home on Upton Place.

The report says that investigators said when they arrived, someone pointed a rifle at them through a window of a home and they fired their guns. The SBI has also been called to the scene along with deputies from Burke County.

No other information was available.

23-year-old Earl Dean Hill of Pony Run in Statesville was arrested last Tuesday (May 5) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony breaking and entering, felony larceny of a firearm, and two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense.

On April 21, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a resident to report a breaking and entering and larceny of guns from his residence. The victim told responding officers he had recovered one of the guns before they arrived and advised who the gun was recovered from. Deputies went and spoke with the person who the owner recovered the gun from and Deputies were given a name of a possible suspect to be Earl Dean Hill.

Detectives went and spoke with Earl Dean Hill and it was learned that he had sold all three of the guns. Detectives went and recovered all the guns that where sold from two different people.

All of the victim’s property that was stolen was recovered and returned to the owner. The guns had a value of $1,000. Hill was detained in the Iredell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court date is scheduled for May 20.

Monday, 11 May 2015 09:10

Felony Hit And Run Charge Filed

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28-year-old Jonathan Edward Barlow was arrested Sunday (May 10) by authorities in Burke County. He’s charged with felony hit and run and driving while impaired. Following the arrest, Barlow was placed in jail under $55,000 secured bond. A first court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, May 11) in Morganton.

51-year-old Charles Wayne Benham was arrested Sunday (May 10) by Morganton Public Safety Officers. Benham was charged with failing to notify sheriff’s office of a change of address, as required for registered sex offenders and being within 300’ of a playground as forbidden by a registered sex offender. Both charges are felonies.

Public Safety officers were called to investigate a suspicious person around the area of the Greenway-near Judge’s Riverside-Greenlee Ford Road. When officers arrived, they encountered Charles Wayne Benham sitting on a picnic table, near the restrooms. A records check indicated that Benham was a registered sex offender from out of state (California-San Diego) and had transferred his registration to North Carolina at an address on Smokey Creek.

Benham reported to officers that he had been living homeless under the Silver Creek Bridge for at least two weeks. NC Law requires a registered sex offender to notify the Sheriff of any address change within three business days. Benham had not been living at the Smokey Creek Address for some time and according to the DCI/NCIC database has a Smokey Creek address.

Additionally, Benham had been loitering around the Greenway for the past few days, sleeping in the bathroom. The picnic table that Benham was seated on was less than 200’ from a playground. NC law prohibits registered sex offenders from loitering 300’ from a playground for children.   

Following the arrest, Benham was placed in jail under $10,000 secured bond, a court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, May 11).


49-year-old Joel Whitner Hart who has no address listed was arrested Friday (May 8) by Caldwell County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with felony fail to register as a sex offender and failure to appear on a count of felony probation violation. Following the arrest, Hart was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $300,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, May 11).