Authorities are looking for a missing person, 26-year-old Christin Coffey, from 8th Street S.W. in Hickory. Ms. Coffey went missing from her sister’s residence in Bethlehem late Monday night. She may be driving a brown Lincoln Town Car with a damaged front bumper. Ms. Coffey suffers from seizures and may be in need of medical attention. Anyone with information should contact Det. Chad Pennell at the Alexander Co. Sheriff’s Office, 828-632-1111.
32-year-old Brian Dean Mitchem of Statesville has been arrested by Alexander County Detectives on charges of breaking & entering and larceny.
Mitchem was arrested in connection to several incidents, the first of which was reported on October 11 in the Wittenburg area. On October 14, three separate incidents in the Bethlehem community were reported, with another the following day, also in Bethlehem. On October 17, two more incidents were reported, one in Bethlehem and another in the Vashti community.
Officials were looking for a black Nissan Altima with Florida plates and a spare tire on the right passenger side. On October 18, warrants for were issued for Mitchem’s arrest. He was taken into custody at about 4 p.m. yesterday by Alexander County Detectives in Salisbury at a convenience store. Salisbury Police assisted in the arrest. Mitchem was driving the black Nissan when he was arrested.
Upon his arrest, Salisbury Police charged Mitchem with possession of a schedule II controlled substance and other drug charges. He was jailed under a $105,000 secured bond. A first appearance in Alexander County District Court was set for Monday (October 24).
Mitchem is also being investigated for similar B&E cases in surrounding counties.
52-year-old Donald Ray Moose of Bessemer City and 52-year-old Daniel Christopher Worthy of Mt. Holly were both arrested by Hickory Police shortly before 3 p.m. yesterday (October 20) on one felony count each of assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer and one misdemeanor count each of larceny.
Events leading to the arrests began at Lowe’s Home Improvement on Highway 70 S.E. where a Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Deputy in the store saw a white male running toward the exit. He was carrying merchandise that included painting supplies, a tape measure and a saw blade. A female employee was running behind the man, attempting to stop him.
The Deputy also ran after the suspect, later identified as Christopher Worthy. Worthy got into a passenger car driven by Donald Moose. The vehicle drug the Deputy as the suspects exited the parking lot. The Deputy freed himself and followed in his own vehicle.
Another Deputy joined in the pursuit and the vehicle was stopped on the 2500 block of 15th Avenue S.E., just behind the hardware store. H.P.D. was called to the scene. The merchandise was recovered and both suspects were taken into custody without further incident.
No injuries were reported.
Both subjects were jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Moose set at $17,000, secured, while Worthy was given a $13,000 secured bond. They will both appear in District Court Monday (October 24) in Newton.
A jury has found 57-year-old William Eugene Murphy not guilty in his second double-homicide trial in Caldwell County Superior Court. The 11-week trial came to an end today (Thursday, October 20).
Murphy was found innocent of committing the November 1990 murders of Mark Randall Secreast and his wife, Jeanie Barlow Secreast, inside their Caldwell County home. The case was investigated at that time, but not solved. Murphy was arrested and charged with the murders in April 2010.
The trial started on August 8. It included four weeks of jury selection prior to opening statements from Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Mathews and Defense Attorney Lisa Dubs. It was the second trial for Murphy in ten months after the first ended in a mistrial.
The 12-member jury deliberated over a three-day period following closing arguments from Prosecutor Michael Van Buren and Dubs on Monday and Tuesday. The jury delivered its verdict to the Honorable Hugh B. Lewis, Superior Court Judge from Mecklenburg County, around 2:30 p.m. today.
Murphy’s first trial ended on February 10 when the jurors were deadlocked six-to-six after five hours of deliberation, prompting the Honorable Nathaniel J. Poovey, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, to declare a mistrial.
Hickory Police are investigating a shoplifting incident at the Walmart store on Highway 70 S.E. At about 3:45 yesterday afternoon (October 19), a male and a female carrying a large bag entered the store. The two went to the sporting goods section where they pulled the anti-theft locks off archery equipment and other merchandise and placed some of the items in the bag.
After the subjects split up, a Loss Prevention Officer confronted the female and recovered the items in the bag. Those items were valued at $420. The Officer was not able to detain the suspect. The Officer then confronted the male subject, but was not able to detain him. The male suspect is thought to have left the store with knives that he did not pay for.
Anyone with information regarding the incident should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.
An early morning break on a 12-inch water main on Hopewell Road in Morganton and a second leak on an eight-inch line drained millions of gallons of water from the City of Morganton’s water system and has left some customers in the area with low water pressure.
Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Jason Green said he can’t be sure when the breaks occurred, but he thinks the leaks got worse sometime during the night. The water plant was able to keep up with the leaks while demand was low. However, when demand picked up this morning, the city’s main water tanks started losing volume.
Just after six o’clock this morning, when use started to peak, the water level in the Dale Circle and Valdese Avenue tanks started to drop dramatically. More than 15 feet of water in the tanks was lost in less than an hour, according to Green. At least three million gallons drained out of the water main before city workers could locate and isolate the leak.
In addition to the 12-inch line break on Hopewell Road, city workers also discovered a leak on one of the water lines feeding Morganton Heights. Green said he and other Water Resources staff were trying to determine why Morganton Heights’ pressure was still low, even after isolating the 12-inch break. The Distribution & Collection Supervisor started checking the lines feeding the shopping center and discovered a second leak.
The leak has been stopped. At last report, the main water tanks were starting to fill and water pressure at Morganton Heights was expected to return to normal.
Residents are still encouraged to conserve water where possible while the system recovers. The city water treatment plant produces and distributes an average of 8.8 million gallons of drinking water per day.
For more information, call the city’s Water Resources Department at 828-438-5276.
23-year-old Joshua Matthew Parkhurst of 9th Avenue N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 6:35 p.m. yesterday (October 18) on one felony count of hit & run.
His arrest stems from an incident on July 25 of this year. Parkhurst allegedly fled the scene after he rear-ended another driver on Highway 321 N.W., near Clement Boulevard N.W. The victim, a 59-year-old woman from Lenoir, was taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center for treatment.
Witnesses gave information that led to Parkhurst’s identification. A warrant for his arrest was issued on October 13. He was taken into custody without incident at his residence yesterday. Parkhurst was taken to the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $5,000 secured bond. He has since been released. An appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
A break on a 20-inch water main on Hopewell Road in Morganton has left customers without water service. The break occurred at six o’clock this morning (October 19). The cause of the break is unknown. Workers were able to isolate the break. As of 8:40 a.m., only about five customers were affected.
City workers shut off water service to the line this morning. Some customers in the Hopewell Road area will be without water service until repairs can be made. The repairs may not be completed until this evening due to the large size of the pipe.
Customers are asked to conserve water as much as possible today until the line is repaired.
For more information, call the city’s Water Resources Department at 828-438-5276.
37-year-old Robert Christopher Cannon of Central Avenue in Granite Falls was arrested today (October 18) and charged with trafficking oxycodone pills.
Following an undercover investigation, Narcotics Agents with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s I.C.E. Unit took Cannon into custody without incident after he was caught in possession of 50 oxycodone pills with the intent to distribute them. Cannon did not have a prescription for the pills. He was arrested in the parking lot at the China King restaurant in Granite Falls. The pills have a street value of approximately $750, according to North Carolina state drug guidelines.
Cannon was incarcerated in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for tomorrow in Lenoir.
The 33rd Annual Southeastern Classic band competition will be held this Saturday (October 22) at Newton-Conover High School’s Gurley Stadium.
17 marching bands are currently confirmed, with exhibitions planned by the host band and by Lenoir-Rhyne’s Spirit of L-R Marching Band.
Gates will open at 12 noon with the opening ceremony slated for 1:30 p.m. An awards ceremony is scheduled at the completion of the event at 9 p.m.
Admission is $7. For more information, call Newton-Conover High School at 828-495-0920.