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36-year-old Robert Christopher Cannon of Central Avenue in Granite Falls was arrested Friday (May 6) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession of methamphetamine and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule II controlled substance along with a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Cannon was locked up in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday (May 10).

An online car title lender that charged outrageous interest rates and took consumers’ cars with little or no warning is now banned from making loans in North Carolina according to Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Cooper filed suit late last month against the lender, which does business as Autoloans, Car Loan, Sovereign Lending Solutions and Title Loan America, for charging North Carolina consumers average interest rates of 257 percent on loans of $1,000 to $2,500. Title loans are small dollar loans secured by consumers’ car titles. State law caps interest rates on such loans at 30 percent for licensed lenders and at 16 percent for unlicensed lenders, such as the defendants.

Under an order signed by Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Stephens, while the lawsuit is underway the company and its owners are barred from: making or collecting on loans in North Carolina; repossessing, selling or placing liens on any car owned by a North Carolina consumer; destroying records; and spending or transferring any money. Cooper is seeking a permanent ban on the defendants’ illegal lending business, cancellation of previous loans and liens, and refunds for North Carolina consumers.

According to the Attorney General’s investigation, the title lender has operated since 2012 under various names and appears to be based in Florida.

As alleged in the complaint filed with the court, at least 700 North Carolina consumers took out title loans from the defendants. In addition to charging annual interest rates of 161 percent to 575 percent, most of the loans included payments on interest only for the first 11 months and a final balloon payment larger than the original loan amount.

The lawsuit contends that when consumers couldn’t make the onerous payments, the defendants repossessed their cars illegally. The lender sent borrowers a GPS tracker to install on their cars and placed a lien on their car titles. If a consumer paid late or missed a payment, the defendants used the GPS tracker to find and repossess the consumer’s car.

The Attorney General’s Office has mailed letters to consumers who took out loans from the defendants to make them aware that the defendants cannot collect payments or repossess cars under the current court order. The office has also written towing companies and automobile auction houses that have previously done business with the defendants to notify them about the court’s order.

A total of eight consumers have complained to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division about the defendants’ unfair loans to date. To file a consumer complaint, call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within state or use the online complaint form at ncdoj.gov.

36-year-old Reginald Martinez Grissom of Lincoln Street in Lincolnton was arrested Sunday (May 8) by Newton Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and possession of stolen goods, along with two misdemeanor counts of resisting a public officer and one misdemeanor count of possession of stolen goods. Grissom was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $75,000 bond. A District Court appearance was slated for today (Monday, May 9).

Lenoir-Caldwell Crime Stoppers is seeking information regarding a pair of recent crimes in Caldwell County.

Authorities are seeking a suspect in connection with a pair of larcenies from Walmart in Lenoir. The white male in the photo is a suspect in two separate cases in which televisions were stolen from Walmart last Wednesday (May 4). The suspect left the area on both occasions in a black Jeep Grand Cherokee. If you know who this is you are asked to call Sgt. Mark Barlowe at the Lenoir Police Department at 828-757-2140 or call Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300.

On April 28, a house in the 1500 block of Orchard Drive was broken into. Once inside, the suspect or suspects stole a John Deere riding mower, a fertilizer spreader, 2-250 gallon fuel tanks and other items. If you have information about this crime, call Detective Philyaw with the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office at 828-759-1554 or Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300. If your tips to Lenoir-Caldwell Crime Stoppers lead to the arrest of the suspect in the crime you could receive a cash reward.

44-year-old Kimberly Dawn Baines of South D Avenue in Maiden was arrested Saturday (May 7) by Long View Police Officers. She's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering. Baines was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention facility under $6,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, May 9).

A portion of Love Road in Catawba County will be closed to traffic on Monday, May 16, to replace the bridge over Hagan Fork.  

Love Road will be closed to through traffic between Ring Tail Road and Bethany Church Road during construction. While the 52-year-old bridge is replaced, motorists can take Love Road to Ring Tail Road, then N.C. 10 to Bethany Church Road and back to Love Road. Work should be completed in late September 2016.

For real-time travel information, call 511, visit the Traveler Services section of NCDOT.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.

19-year-old Brandon Lee Sprouse of Morganton, will serve an active prison sentence of at least 12 years following his guilty plea to first-degree sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a child. He entered the guilty plea during Burke County Superior Court on Thursday (May 5).

The Honorable Daniel A. Kuehnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, sentenced Sprouse to serve 12 to 19 years in the custody of the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections.

Sprouse will have to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 30 years upon his release and will be placed on satellite-based monitoring for five years.

In March 2015, the defendant inappropriately touched the 12-year-old male victim, who has a moderate form of autism, and had the boy perform sexual acts on him. Sprouse admitted to Det. Isaac Propst, who investigated the case for the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, that he had engaged in such acts with the victim.

Frank Webster prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.

Hickory Police are investigating a robbery at the Sprint store, 1828 Catawba Valley Boulevard in Hickory.

Sometime between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. today (May 6), an unknown suspect or suspects gained entry by breaking the front door. A preliminary estimate of property loss was set at $10,000.

No further information is available at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

Friday, 06 May 2016 11:28

Hewitt Convicted in Triple Homicide

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According to published reports, 37-year-old Everette Porshau Hewitt has been found guilty of first-degree murder.

He was convicted of killing Wade Sigmon, Susan Blevins and Connie Miller in 2011. Hewitt was also found guilty of shooting Joseph Burke, who survived. In addition to the murder charges, Hewitt was convicted of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and first-degree burglary. He was found not guilty of robbery with a firearm.

Sentencing will take place next week. The state is pursuing the death penalty against Hewitt, who has been incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility without bond on the murder charges since his arrest.

Friday, 06 May 2016 10:41

Statesville Police Seek Missing Family

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The Statesville Police Department is currently seeking information regarding the whereabouts of 37-year-old Shannon Dawn Johnson Ikard and her two children, 11-year-old Brandon Malik Johnson and eight-month-old Tarella R. Johnson. The three were last seen on Sunday (May 1). They were reported missing by a family member.

Shannon Ikard is a white female. She is 5’4” tall and weighs 150 pounds. She has blue eyes and shoulder length red hair. Ikard may be driving a gray 2007 Toyota Corolla with N.C. BME-4564. The Toyota has stickers on the rear window with the name “Tyrell” and a photo.

Brandon Johnson is a white male. He is 4’7” tall, weighs 90 pounds, has brown eyes and short brown hair. Tarella Johnson is a white female. She weighs 17 pounds and has blue eyes.

Anyone with information regarding the family’s whereabouts should call the Statesville Police Department at 704-878-3406.