45-year-old Jerome Lee McNeely of Liberty Church Road in Hickory has been arrested by Burke Co. Sheriff’s Officer on charges of felony breaking & entering and felony safecracking.

Events leading to McNeely’s arrest began at about four o’clock Saturday morning (January 14) when Deputies responded to a break-in at a physician’s office on South Main Street in Hildebran.  When Deputies arrived, a suspect fled on foot.  Detectives arrived to process the scene.  

At about 7:40 a.m. the same day, a Deputy saw a male subject walking along Wilson Road near 40th Street N.W., but the suspect ran when the Deputy approached him for questioning.  After a short chase through the woods, the male subject was apprehended and identified as Jerome Lee McNeely.  

McNeely was arrested and placed in the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility under a $50,000 secured bond.  A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today (January 17) in Morganton.

The investigation is ongoing.

30-year-old Jamie Louis Sullivan of 18th Street N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 2 a.m. yesterday (January 16) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance.

Sullivan’s arrest stems from an incident on September 8 of last year.  He was involved in a single-vehicle accident on the 900 block of Highland Avenue N.E. in Hickory.  The vehicle Sullivan was driving hit two telephone poles.

Investigators allegedly found 0.1 grams of methamphetamine on his person.  At the time of his initial arrest, Sullivan was also charged with D.W.I. and driving while license revoked.

Sullivan was taken into custody without incident Monday at Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory.  He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $15,000, secured.  An appearance in Superior Court was scheduled today in Newton.

Burke County Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating an armed robbery at the Fast Track Convenience Store in Hildebran off of Interstate 40, exit 119.

The incident occurred just after 5:30 Sunday morning (January 15).  Deputies responded to the scene and spoke to the store clerk.  The clerk said a black male walked into the store, pulled something from his pants pocket and demanded money.  The suspect took money and other items from the store.  He then got into his vehicle, which was parked at the gas pumps, and fled the scene, heading towards Henry River Road.  

The suspect was described as a black male, about five feet tall with dreads.  He was wearing a hoodie and blue jeans.  The suspect vehicle is a mid-90s model gold Mitsubishi.

The Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division is working the case.  Anyone with information regarding the robbery should call Crime Stoppers at 828-437-3333.

26-year-old Joshua Shane Strickland of Blackburn Ridge Road in Lincolnton was arrested by Hickory Police at 7:25 Saturday night (January 14) on one felony count of possession of a schedule I controlled substance and one misdemeanor count each of possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and possession of a schedule VI controlled substance.

He was arrested after Police responded to the parking lot at the Big Lots store on Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory to perform a health check on a subject who was asleep in a black Nissan Sentra.  Officers woke the man, Joshua Strickland, and saw a prescription pill bottle containing a small amount of marijuana.  Strickland refused medical treatment.

A subsequent search turned up three used syringes and half of a Xanax pill.  In all, 0.7 grams of methamphetamine and 0.6 grams of marijuana were found.

Strickland was taken into custody without incident.  He was taken to the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with no bond amount listed.  He has since been released.  An appearance in District Court was set for today (January 17) in Newton.

Strickland also has a District Court date coming up on January 23 for multiple felony breaking & entering and larceny charges, as well as a number of vehicular offenses.  He will also appear in Superior Court on felony meth charge on March 6, all in Newton.

27-year-old Cory Eugene Hefner of 14th Street S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before midnight Friday (January 13) on true bills of indictment for the sale of methamphetamine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver meth, the sale of heroin, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver heroin and two counts for the manufacture, sale, delivery or possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a park.

Hefner was taken into custody without incident at the Wendy’s restaurant on 16th Street N.E., just off of Springs Road in Hickory. He was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $50,000 secured bond. A Superior Court date was set for January 17 in Newton.

Additional charges were filed Friday (January 13) against 46-year-old Donald Eugene Blankenship of East 11th Street in Newton. He was initially charged and arrested last Wednesday (January 11) on one count of indecent liberties with a child and two counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

Detectives identified another victim during the continuing investigation. As a result of the interview with the second victim, Blankenship was charged with two additional counts of indecent liberties with children.

He was again placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $100,000 bond. An appearance in District Court was set for tomorrow (January 17) in Newton.

Any other potential victims of Blankenship or David Lee Perkins (who was arrested last month in Missouri in connection to the same case) are asked to contact the Newton Police Department at 828-465-7430.

Lisa Williard of Harmony, N.C. is a winner for a second time in the North Carolina Education Lottery’s Cash 5 jackpot. Her first win came in 2008, when she won $363,041. Williard won again Thursday night (January 12) when she was one of three people to win the $1,065,423 jackpot.

The odds of winning a Cash 5 jackpot are one-in-749,398. Williard bought several Quick Pick tickets for Thursday’s drawing at Barker’s Log Cabin Grocery Too on the Harmony Highway in Harmony. When she checked her first ticket, she saw that she matched four numbers to win $250. Her next ticket matched all five numbers.

Willard claimed her prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh, receiving a third of the jackpot, $355,141. After required state and federal tax withholdings, she took home $246,826. She plans to use the money to pay off her mortgage.

The other winning tickets were sold at the Kangaroo Express on South Polk Street in Pineville and Stanleyville Grocery on North Patterson Avenue in Winston Salem. Winners have 180 days to claim their prize.

The lottery raised more than $634 million for the state last year.

Hickory Police are investigating an armed robbery at the Cubbard Express store on 2nd Street N.E. in Viewmont.

At about 11:20 last night, Hickory Police Officers responded to an armed robbery call at the store. The female clerk said that two suspects came into the store and demanded money while holding her at gunpoint. The suspects took an undisclosed sum of cash and tobacco products valued at $31. They exited through a side door and left the store on foot. No one was injured.

One suspect was described as a tall, young black male with a slim build. He was wearing a pink Under Armour hoodie, dark pants with three white stripes down each outer leg and a light-colored facemask. He was carrying a black book bag with green and possibly yellow highlights.

The second suspect was said to be a tall, young black male with a slim build. He was wearing a black zip-up hoodie, blue pants and a black mask.

A possible third suspect involved appears to be a black male wearing a gray hoodie, black pants and a black hat. He was seen walking through the rear parking lot at the Cubbard Express just before the robbery.

Anyone with information regarding the robbery should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551 or contact Investigator Jeff Pruett directly at 828-261-2617 or jpruett@hickorync.gov.

29-year-old Thatcher Lynn Wilson of Black Oak Road in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 6:30 last night (January 12) on one felony count of speeding to elude arrest.

He was arrested in connection to an incident on November 18 of last year. At that time, Officers responded to a fight at an address on 1st Avenue N.W. in Hickory. As they arrived, Officers saw a white 2006 Mercedes fleeing the scene on 1st Avenue N.W. at 2nd Street N.W. Police attempted to stop the Mercedes at 2nd Street N.W. and 2nd Avenue N.W., but the vehicle accelerated and pulled away. The chase was terminated.

Officers recognized the driver as Thatcher Lynn Wilson as he initially pulled away from the scene of the fight. A warrant for his arrest was issued. He was taken into custody without incident yesterday at a convenience store on North Center Street in Hickory.

Wilson was processed and released nearly three hours later under an $8,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.

Hickory Police are investigating an armed robbery at the Cubbard Express store on 2nd Street N.E. in Viewmont.

The incident occurred between 11:15 and 11:20 last night (January 12) when two black males entered the store. The men demanded money, and at least one handgun was displayed. The suspects kept their faces covered during the robbery.

They took tobacco products valued at $31 and an undisclosed sum of cash. The suspects left the store through a side entrance. It’s not known if they fled on foot or in a vehicle.

No one was injured. No further description of the suspects is available.

Anyone with information regarding the robbery should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.

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