27-year-old Holly Danielle Scronce of Hickory and her boyfriend, 32-year-old Jeffrey Allen Bortz of Newton, both face charges in Lincoln County for one felony count each of larceny, possession of stolen goods, conspiracy and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. In addition, Scronce has outstanding warrants in Alexander County for a probation violation and larceny by employee. Bortz has an outstanding warrant for second-degree trespassing in Catawba County and driving while license revoked in Alexander County.
The two were charged in connection to an October 28 theft from a home on Trinity Church Road in Vale. Detective Dan Snellings investigated the case, which involved the theft of firearms, a wedding band and cash. The victim told Officers that his granddaughter, Holly Scronce, had been at the home for the first time in years. She left the residence just minutes before the victim noticed that the items were missing.
Detective Snellings conducted a computerized search for the stolen property and located the wedding band at a pawnshop in Hickory. The ring was sold by Jeffrey Bortz less than an hour after the couple left the victim’s home. The stolen ring was picked up by the Detective.
On October 31, the suspects were arrested by Pennsylvania State Police near the Cranberry Township in Pennsylvania on fraud and threat charges. Those offenses allegedly occurred in Pennsylvania on October 30.
Scronce and Bortz have been served with fugitive warrants in Pennsylvania and are awaiting an extradition hearing to be returned to North Carolina.
42-year-old Shawn Patrick Phillips of Abruzzel Lane in Statesville has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on 74 felony counts of statutory rape of a person from 13 to 15 years old by a defendant at least six years older than the victim and two felony counts of sex offense in a parental role.
On November 3, Officers took a report regarding the abuse of a child under the age of 16. The case was assigned to Detective Sergeant Jason Lowrance. The victim was interviewed at the Dove House Child Advocacy Center where she said she was abused by family member Shawn Phillips from July 2012 through August 2015.
After further investigation and interviews with multiple witnesses, Phillips was charged and subsequently arrested on November 6. He was placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $1,000,000 bond.
As of 1:30 this afternoon, the northeastern quadrant of the City of Hickory was experiencing a power outage that was affecting traffic lights in that portion of the city. The Hickory Police Department said they were aware of the problem and Duke Energy was working to correct the situation.
H.P.D. urged citizens to use extreme caution at lighted traffic intersections until the power was restored.
Investigators spent the morning searching the Caldwell County landfill for the body of a woman who they believe was murdered in Mitchell County. That search is now over, and according to the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office, authorities were not able to find what they were looking for.
Sarah Riddle is the woman whose body officers were searching for. She was reported missing on November 1 in McDowell County, the 45-year-old woman was last seen by her boyfriend on October 20. 41-year-old Cecil Scott Byrd of Bakersville was charged with two counts of murder. The charges are in connection with the deaths of both Riddle, and 49-year-old Lisa Ann Robbins. Robbins hadn't been seen for more than a month at the time Byrd was charged.
Authorities believe Byrd placed the body of Sarah Riddle in a dumpster in Mitchell County last month, and reports said they were able to trace an area of the Caldwell County landfill where they believe that trash ended up.
Authorities believe both women were killed at Byrd's home. Deputies said they don't have a motive behind the murders but said that Byrd knew the women.
The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office provided assistance to the Mitchell and McDowell County Sheriff's Offices and the State Bureau of Investigation. The search was concluded early this afternoon and a spokesman from the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office told WHKY he did not know if the landfill would be searched again in the future.
Byrd's next court appearance is in Mitchell County District Court November 20.
38-year-old Mandie L. Taylor of 4th Street N.E. in Hickory was arrested at about 9:25 last night (November 9) on one felony count of obtaining property by false pretense.
Taylor was arrested after management at Applebee’s reported on October 12 that Taylor allegedly altered receipts to increase her tips, charging the increased amount to customers’ credit cards. The warrant for her arrest was issued that same day.
Taylor was taken into custody without incident at her residence. She was processed and then released under a $1,500 unsecured bond. An appearance in District Court was set for November 13 in Newton.
The city of Newton experienced four wastewater spills on Monday (November 9) during heavy rains. A spill at 1442 West N.C. 10 was estimated at 4,950 gallons and reached Hildebran Creek. A spill at 1432 West N.C. 10 was estimated at 4,950 gallons and reached Hildebran Creek. A spill at 1913 Mayfair Drive was estimated at 1,125 gallons and reached McLin Creek. A spill at 1857 Burris Road was estimated at 1,287 gallons and reached McLin Creek.
The Division of Water Resources was notified and is reviewing the matter. The spills had no negative impact on the environment. For more information, contact Dennis Falder, Assistant Public Works and Utilities Director, at 828-695-4298.
26-year-old Danny Wayne Powell, Jr. of 39th Avenue Court N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 5:24 p.m. yesterday on two felony counts of failure to appear in court for an out-of-county probation violation and for possession of a firearm by a felon.
The firearms charge comes in connection to a case in which Powell was initially arrested in March of this year. Hickory Police assisted Probation & Parole Officers in a search of the suspect’s residence. A firearm was found, which was a violation of Powell’s probation.
Powell was taken into custody without incident yesterday at his home. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility where he is being held without bond. An appearance in Superior Court was scheduled for November 13 in Newton.
20-year-old Markus Smalls of Hickory was injured yesterday (November 9) when he was struck by a vehicle.
At about 6 p.m. Monday, a 1999 Ford Expedition driven by 20-year-old Kyndall Wells of Newton, was traveling east on 2nd Avenue N.W. at 17th Street N.W. At the same time, Mr. Smalls was walking north across the intersection. According to witnesses, the eastbound traffic had a steady green light and north and southbound traffic had steady red lights. No pedestrian crosswalk or traffic control device is present at the intersection. Witnesses say Mr. Smalls walked into the path of the Ford.
Mr. Smalls was transported to Frye Regional Medical Center by Catawba County E.M.S. with potentially life threatening injuries. From Frye, he was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem. No further update on his condition is available. No one else was injured.
The Hickory Fire Department and Catawba County E.M.S. responded. The Hickory Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit is actively investigating the collision. Neither speed nor impairment appear to be factors in the collision. The investigation is ongoing. No charges have been filed at this time.
Startown Road in Catawba County was blocked Monday morning after a tractor-trailer overturned. According to WSOC, emergency crews were called to Startown Road just after 10 a.m. and found the truck on its side.
The report says officials had to rescue the driver, who was reportedly not seriously hurt. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says the driver of the 18-wheeler lost control of the truck after going off the roadway while heavy rain was falling.
Startown was closed between Highway 321 and Highway 10 while the scene was being cleaned up. Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.
Burke County Commissioners will continue their discussions on the proposed new Justice Center during a special meeting later this week.
Over the past several months, Burke County officials have been discussing plans for a new Justice Center on Government Drive in Morganton. At a meeting held in September, an updated set of plans were revealed. The latest design for the Justice Center features four adjoining courtrooms separated by a snack bar and judges’ chambers from two additional courtrooms. A public hallway runs the length of the six courtrooms.
The current design being considered would require inmates to be brought down from a second floor-inmate corridor by elevator to a lobby that has holding cells. Judges’ offices, the District Attorney’s office, Probation and Parole and the Clerk of Courts office are located to the side of the courtrooms in both designs. The estimated cost of the current design is $27.5 million.
Burke County Commissioners will hold the special meeting on Friday (November 13) at 1:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Commissioners' Meeting Room in the Burke County Services Building at 110 North Green Street, Entrance E, in Morganton.