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The Boone Police Department has received a number of reports recently in which victims were defrauded over the phone by subjects demanding pre-paid money cards. The callers have claimed to be from a utility company, government agency or fundraising organization. The callers have been very aggressive and demanded the immediate payment of money via a pre-paid card so the caller or a relative will avoid dire consequences.

In most cases, the caller has demanded that the victim purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card and then give them the card number. A variation of the scam involves people wishing to buy items on Craigslist. The seller has asked the victim to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card and provide them with the card number so they can hold the item.

Here are some tips to help citizens avoid being scammed:

  • Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
  • Remember that anyone who has the number on a Green Dot MoneyPak card has access to the funds on the card.
  • Never give out personal or financial information to anyone who emails or calls, unsolicited.
  • Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers or Green Dot MoneyPak card numbers to any unknown person.
  • Utility companies and government agencies will not demand immediate payment by a Green Dot MoneyPak card.

When in doubt regarding the legitimacy of a caller, request a callback telephone number and then contact the Boone Police Department or a local law enforcement agency for assistance.

40-year-old Phillip Hugh Norman of Jacob Fork River Road in Connelly Springs was arrested by Hickory Police at about 2:40 yesterday afternoon (July 21) for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also arrested on warrants out Buncombe County dating back to June 11 of this year for felony larceny by employee and misdemeanor possession of a schedule II controlled substance.

He was arrested after the manager at the Roses store on Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory called Police to report a suspicious person in the parking lot. The man, later identified as Phillip Norman, was reportedly crawling on his hands and knees in the parking lot, talking to the bushes there. When Police arrived, Norman was asleep in his vehicle.

When Officers conducted a consent search of Norman’s person, they found nothing; however, hypodermic needles and spoons were found in his vehicle, resulting in the drug paraphernalia charge. A routine records check turned up the warrants from Buncombe County.

Norman was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $27,000 secured bond. He will appear in District Court in Asheville on August 4 and in Hickory on August 19.

The Rotary Club of Lake Hickory’s President-Elect Ernie Sills and his wife Cindy traveled to Sydney, Australia for this year's Rotary International Convention. While there, they participated in the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb where they climbed up 1,332 steps to reach the top of the famous bridge.

They used the event to help raise money for PolioPlus by asking all Rotary club members to donate money "per step" that would then be matched by the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation.

The Sills raised $2,433, which will be doubled to $4,866 by the Gates Foundation. A check was presented to the Rotary Club of Lake Hickory on June 24 and then delivered to Rotary's PolioPlus campaign.

As part of the PolioPlus initiative, Rotarians around the world have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries. At this time, there are only three countries where Polio still exists thanks, in part, to the efforts of Rotarians.

Yesterday (July 21), Catawba County Library staff dropped off eight pounds of produce at the Corner Table in Newton to help feed those in need. Zucchini squash, peppers and cucumbers represented the first harvest from a garden located on a plot behind the Main Library on West “C” Street in Newton.

Library director Suzanne White said it was the first of what she hopes will be many donations to the soup kitchen. The community garden is a collaboration of people working together to grow healthy, local foods, encourage learning and provide fruits and vegetables to citizens in need.

On Thursday (July 24), Youth Services librarian April Green, and her staff will host Garden Day at the library with Jack and the Beanstalk story time in the garden. The children’s program begins at 4 p.m.

The garden, an eco-friendly learning space owned by the county, was launched with private donations and support from the Friends of the Library. Additional funding is being sought to further its development. The crowd-funding campaign will run through late September.

Donations can be made in person at any library location or on-line through the crowd-funding website www.citizinvestor.com/project/growing-plants-and-lives--library. For more information, contact April Green at 828-465-8668 or by email at agreen@catawbacountync.gov .

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 11:05

RTV Stolen from Lincoln County Dealership

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Lincoln County Sheriff's Detectives are investigating the theft of an RTV from Al Lane's Kawasaki on East Highway 27 at about 2:30 a.m. on July 13.

Investigators say the suspects gained entry through an outside fence. The break-in was discovered at 9:30 that morning. Stolen was an orange & gray 2014 Kubota RTV valued at $13,000. A second RTV had been pushed into a field nearby, but was recovered and returned to the business.

A security camera at a nearby business captured images of a small white car as it pulled behind a neighboring service station and then left the scene. The car returned approximately 20 minutes later, followed by a U-Haul cab-over style truck.

Detectives believe three suspects were involved in the incident. They apparently loaded the RTV onto the truck and left the scene. Security cameras did not record the two vehicles leaving.

Anyone with information about the crime should contact the Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln Co. Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. A Crime Stoppers tip leading to an arrest could result in a reward of up to $1,000.

30-year-old Shelby Allen of Charlotte has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on felony charges of financial transaction card fraud and embezzlement.

Events leading to his arrest began on June 7 of last year when the Sheriff’s Office received a report from a company stating that Allen was a former employee who had used the business’ debit card for personal use. The case was assigned to Detective Sergeant Scott Maple of the Economic Crime Unit.

Allen allegedly used the debit card to purchase several items online and to pay his personal electric bill, all of which totaled $13,398.24. Upon further investigation and after reviewing evidence provided by the victims, it was found that several items were shipped to the business and taken by Allen for his own use and that other items were shipped directly to his residence.

Allen was arrested last Friday (July 18) and given a $500 secured bond. His next appearance in District Court was set for October 13.

Additional charges may be forthcoming in connection to offenses allegedly committed in Charlotte.

It’s been 50 days since Toasha Nicole Rice was last seen leaving a friend’s home on Eaker Road in western Lincoln County. She got into a black four-door car with a white female driver and has not been seen since.

Family members and law enforcement Officers have attempted to contact Ms. Rice on her cell phone but it appears it has been turned off.

Detectives have interviewed family members and a number of people she is known to associate with, but no one has seen the missing woman. They also used a K-9 Search Team in a large wooded area off Sorrells Baxter Road and Eaker Road in western Lincoln County, but did not locate any signs of the woman. The woman’s debit or credit cards have not been used since before her disappearance. Detectives have also followed up on all leads in the case, but nothing has led to Toasha Rice.

Ms. Rice, who also goes by Nikki Green on her Facebook page, is a white female, 27 years old, with blue eyes and reddish brown hair. She is 5’6” tall and weighs approximately 140 pounds.

Anyone with information regarding Toasha Nicole Rice (a.k.a. Nikki Green) is asked to contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909.

During its meeting last night (July 21), the Catawba County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a rezoning request submitted by residents on Startown Road and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation.

During a lengthy public hearing, the Board heard from speakers on both sides of the issue.

The request would rezone 174 acres between Startown and Robinwood roads to create a new business and industrial park, known as Park 1764.

Officials say the project could result in the creation of anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 jobs. Residents speaking against the rezoning cited traffic concerns, safety risks, environmental concerns and a decrease in property valuations. Those in favor focused mainly on potential job creation.

24-year-old Dershae Mylantus Blackburn of Car Farm Road in Lincolnton has been arrested by Lincoln Co. Narcotics Investigators on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of driving while license revoked.

Operating on information from a confidential source, Officers were told that Blackburn was going to pick up a quantity of cocaine. Investigators began conducting surveillance. They saw Blackburn meet with his supplier and begin to return home.

Investigators determined that Blackburn did not have a valid driver’s license and stopped the vehicle. A consent search of his person and the vehicle was conducted, leading to the discovery of a quarter ounce of powder cocaine, which was seized as evidence.

Blackburn was arrested and later released on a $9,000 secured bond. He’ll appear in a Lincoln County courtroom on August 12.

Monday, 21 July 2014 17:24

Missing S.C. Woman Seen in Iredell County

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The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office and the Hampton County, (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Office are requesting the public’s assistance in locating 74-year-old Mary Eloise Capers.

Ms. Capers left Hampton County, South Carolina around noon on Sunday (July 20) on her way to Columbia, South Carolina. When she did not arrive at her location, the family reported her missing. Later on that night, Ms. Capers stopped at a home on Old Mocksville Highway in Statesville, asked for directions to Columbia and then left.

She is driving a 2014 Green Toyota Corolla with a Stokes Toyota paper temporary tag 559-3GK. She is wearing brown clothing. Ms. Capers has been diagnosed in early stages of dementia.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Mary Eloise Capers should call the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office at 803-943-9261.