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35-year-old Randy Lewis Watts of 12th Street S.W. in Hickory was arrested Saturday (September 27) by Hickory Police on charges of felony breaking & entering a place of worship and felony possession of burglary tools.

Watts was arrested when Police responded to a B&E in progress at the Escalate Church on the 400 block of 1st Avenue S.E. in Hickory. The church is located on the second floor of the Rainbow Vacuum building. Officers found Watts in the back of the building, where they also found a badly damaged back door. A search of Watts’ person turned up a knife and two screwdrivers.

Following his arrest, Watts was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for today (September 29).

Friday, 26 September 2014 15:23

Hudson Man Charged with B&E to Motor Vehicle

32-year-old Brandon Russell Atwood of Quarry Estates Road in Hudson was arrested by Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Officers yesterday (September 25) on a charge of breaking & entering a motor vehicle. He was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $20,000, secured. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court yesterday in Lenoir.

Friday, 26 September 2014 14:43

Alexander County Inmate Died of Dehydration

53-year-old Michael Anthony Kerr, the Alexander County inmate who died in March, died of dehydration, according to an autopsy report released yesterday (September 25).

Kerr, who had been diagnosed with a clinical schizoaffective disorder, was found unresponsive in the back of a van on March 12 after being driven about three hours from the Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to a mental hospital at Central Prison in Raleigh.

The N.C. Dept. of Public Safety subsequently fired a captain and four nurses at Alexander. A nurse and a staff psychologist resigned.

Public Safety Officials said at the time that an internal investigation into Kerr’s death would be conducted, but no results have been made public.

Dr. Susan E. Venuti of the North Carolina medical examiner’s office said a senior prison official allowed a ‘‘witnessed review’’ of an internal report into Kerr’s death, but the medical examiner’s office was not permitted to keep a copy.

34-year-old Regina Rae Bolick of Lick Mountain Drive in Lenoir was arrested late Wednesday night (September 24) on one felony count each of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute a schedule II controlled substance and possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute a schedule IV controlled substance, as well as four misdemeanor counts for possession of drug paraphernalia. At the same time, 33-year-old Joshua Thomas Bowman of the same address was also arrested and charged with driving whole license revoked, altering a registration card or tag and expired or fictitious registration.

At 11:52 p.m. Wednesday, Lenoir Police conducted a traffic stop on a 2006 Ford Taurus at 825 Blowing Rock Boulevard. During the stop, a K-9 Unit was used to sniff the exterior of the car. The dog alerted to the odor of narcotics coming from the vehicle. A subsequent search turned up 60 Methadone Hydrochloride and 44 Alprazolam pills inside the vehicle. Officers also located numerous items of drug paraphernalia.

During the investigation, the pills and paraphernalia were determined to be the property of Regina Rae Bolick, who was a passenger in the vehicle.

Bolick was placed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond. Bowman’s bond was set at $2,500, secured. Bolick was due in court yesterday (September 25). Bowman has a court date on November 10.

40-year-old Wendy Lee Setzer of Grassy Knob Lane and 39-year-old James Clifford Sharpe of Columbus Street, both from Lenoir, were arrested by Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Officers yesterday (September 25) on one felony count each of manufacturing methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance and possession or distribution of meth precursors.

They were both placed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond for each set at $25,000, secured. First appearances in District Court were scheduled for Monday (September 29) in Lenoir.

Friday, 26 September 2014 11:19

Fire Prevention Week Kicks Off October 5

On Sunday, October 5, fire departments across the county will celebrate Fire Prevention Week. To kickoff the national event, Catawba County Firefighters will hold a special display at Home Depot on Highway 70 in Hickory beginning at 1 p.m. and continuing until 3 p.m.    

Children can participate in the Junior Firefighter Academy sponsored by the Catawba Fire Department. During the event, children can go through a miniature obstacle-training course where they will pull fire hose, climb small ladders and pretend to be firefighters.  

The Newton Fire Department will have their Hot Box on display for families to learn more about sprinkler systems. The Hot Box is a mobile fire extinguisher and sprinkler trailer.

Firefighters and fire trucks from the Catawba, Cooksville, Conover, Hickory, Newton, Mountain View, Maiden and St. Stephen’s fire departments will participate in the event, and the Catawba Co. Emergency Services Fire & Rescue Division will have a vehicle on display. Firefighters will be available to answer questions and to pass out free literature, and they’ll have treats for the children.

42-year-old Joseph Brian Swann of Mile Drive in Nebo has been reported missing in McDowell County.

Mr. Swann went ginseng hunting with a friend around 10:30 a.m. yesterday (September 25). His wife reported him missing early this morning when he never returned home. Swann’s friend last had radio contact with him at 4:30 p.m. yesterday.

Mr. Swann is a white male. He is 5’10” inches tall and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Joseph Brian Swann should call the McDowell Co. Sheriff’s Office at 828-652-2235 or the 9-1-1 communications center at 828-652-4000.

Friday, 26 September 2014 10:52

Hickory Man Indicted on Felony Drug Charges

55-year-old Franklin Leroy Shook of 10th Street S.W. in Hickory was served a felony indictment by Hickory Police early this morning (September 26) on one felony count each of possession of a schedule IV controlled substance with intent to manufacture and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance. He was also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

The indictment stems from an incident on May 19 of this year. Police were in the process of serving a criminal summons when they smelled marijuana. A subsequent search turned up 58.7 grams of marijuana and 64 oxycodone pills.

Shook was taken into custody without incident at his residence at about 2:40 a.m. and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under an $18,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make an appearance in Superior Court today in Newton.

26-year-old Jeremy Howard Huffman of Benfield Drive in Nebo has been arrested on two misdemeanor counts of assault by pointing a gun, one misdemeanor count of assault on a female and one felony count each of attempted first-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping.

A 26-year-old female acquaintance said she was riding in a car with Huffman on July 3 when he slammed her head into a seat belt bolt, drove her to his residence and dragged her inside the house where he continued to assault her for two hours and tried to force her to have sex.

The victim was able to call her boyfriend and tell him who she was with. The victim’s family members arrived at Huffman’s residence to get her. The suspect allegedly met them at the door with a gun, pointed it at them and demanded that they leave. The victim was then able to escape and was taken to the hospital for treatment of her injuries.

Huffman has been serving time in the Buncombe County jail and was just recently served with the charges from McDowell County. He will appear in a McDowell County courtroom on October 13.

Friday, 26 September 2014 07:08

Man Escapes Fire in Conover

A man escaped injury when his house on Mays Street in Conover caught fire yesterday afternoon (September 25). Emergency Services was alerted by a fire alarm at about noon. The man, who was sleeping inside the house, was able to get to safety. His two cats died in the fire.

The St. Stephens Fire Department responded and found heavy smoke coming from the top and bottom of the one-story brick house. St. Stephens was assisted by Catawba County E.M.S., Catawba County Fire & Rescue, Hickory Rescue, the Conover Fire Department and the Oxford Fire Department.