At 10:30 Wednesday morning (April 26), the Newton Police Department responded to a reported armed robbery at First Citizens Bank at 11 South College Avenue in Newton.  

Upon arrival, Officers were told that the suspect approached a teller, presented a bag and instructed the teller to place money in the bag.  The suspect did not present a weapon during the robbery.

The suspect exited the bank and was last seen running north from the scene via an alleyway beside the Newton Vision Center on East “A” Street.  He fled the scene with approximately $1,500 in cash.   

The suspect was described as a thin, black male, 5’8” tall, weighing between 150-160 pounds.  He was wearing a brown, hooded Carhartt jacket, blue jeans, brown shoes or work boots, a red shirt and a white baseball-style hat.  

Anyone with information should call the Newton Police Department at 828-465-7430.

35-year-old Shannon Nichole Linebarger of Old Farm Drive in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 10:10 last night (April 25) on one felony count each of breaking & entering and larceny after breaking & entering, plus one misdemeanor drug charge.

She was arrested after Hickory Police responded to a shoplifting call at the Walmart store on Highway 70 S.E.  Linebarger had gone past the last point of sale with items concealed.  She had been previously banned from the store.

Linebarger was arrested without incident at the store.  She was processed and released into the custody of a bondsman under a $7,500 secured bond.  An appearance in District Court was set for today in Newton.

29-year-old Cory Elijah Moretz of Little River Church Road in Taylorsville was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (April 26) on one felony count each of fleeing to elude arrest with a motor vehicle with two aggravating factors, larceny of a motor vehicle and possession of heroin, plus three counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.  He also faces single misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, speeding and driving while license revoked.  The warrants for his arrest were issued in February and March of this year and earlier this month in Caldwell, Alexander and Burke counties.

At about 2:30 a.m. today, Moretz was taken into custody following a traffic stop occurring on Highway 321 N.W.  The vehicle was stopped for displaying a fictitious license plate.  Moretz, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was determined to have multiple outstanding warrants.

Moretz was jailed under a $96,500 secured bond.  He’ll appear in District Court tomorrow in Lenoir.  He also has a court date in Morganton on May 9 for several traffic violations and another District Court appearance in Taylorsville on June 26 for felony counts of larceny of a firearm, breaking & entering and larceny after breaking & entering.

The Hickory Police Department will host two upcoming events – “Run With the Law” and the department’s 20th Annual Golf Tournament to benefit Special Olympics. Both events encourage participation with Special Olympic athletes and help to raise money for the programs offered by Special Olympics of North Carolina.

“Run With the Law” will be held on May 6, beginning at Police Headquarters on 2nd Avenue S.W. in Hickory. On-site registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the awareness run beginning at 8:30 a.m. A minimum donation of $25 is required to participate and runners will receive a free Law Enforcement Torch Run t-shirt.

The Golf Tournament will be held on May 15 at the Lake Hickory Country Club (the Catawba Springs Course).

To pre-register for the run or if interested in becoming a sponsor or entering a team in the golf tournament, contact Chrystal Dieter at or call 828-261-2642.

Sponsors for the golf tournament are: Mike Johnson Toyota, Texas Roadhouse, Homes for Heroes, Wize Home Direct, Donna Austin Team – Coldwell Banker, Harriet Kirkland – Coldwell Banker, Blue Ridge Fire Protection, Martin Marietta, Shuford Credit Union, Catawba Valley Insurance Agency, Growing Smiles, Arby’s, McDonalds, Smoothie King, Fran Redden – Coldwell Banker, Suzanne Williams – Coldwell Banker, Kay Schmucker Team – Berkshire Hathaway, Outdoor Supply Company, Food Matters Marker, Auto Spa and the Hickory Crawdads.

21-year-old Tyler James Carey of Neil Road in Morganton was arrested by Hickory Police at about 2:40 yesterday afternoon on two felony counts of larceny by servant or other employee and one misdemeanor count each of failure to appear on a charge of driving while license revoked and providing false information to an officer.  The larceny warrants were issued in Buncombe County and the failure to appear warrant comes from Yancey County.  The false information charge is local.

Carey was taken into custody without incident at the Golden Corral restaurant on Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard S.E. in Hickory.  He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $5,000 secured bond.  He has since been released.  Carey will appear in District Court on April 28 in Asheville; on May 31 in Yancey County; and on June 20 in Newton.

18-year-old Tykeydris Markee Latwan Norris of Statesville has been arrested by Statesville Police on charges of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and attempted armed robbery.  A second suspect, 20-year-old Jiceri Sankwan Tucker of Statesville, is currently at-large.  He is wanted on the same charges.

Just before 5 p.m. yesterday (April 24), Statesville Police responded to a reported shooting at a residence on the 300 block of Brevard Street in Statesville.  Upon arrival, Officers discovered the victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest.  Iredell County EMS treated the victim on the scene.  The victim was then taken directly to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem for further treatment.

Officers and Investigators processed the crime scene in front of the residence and inside the victim’s home and began talking with neighbors.  One Statesville Police Investigator rode with the victim en route to the hospital.  The victim said the two suspects, who were known to him, attempted to rob him.  A struggle ensued and the victim was shot.  

Warrants were issued for the arrests of Tykeydris Markee Latwan Norris and Jiceri Sankwan Tucker.  The victim's name has not been released.

Just before two o’clock this morning (April 25), Norris was arrested in Troutman at a residence on Avon Avenue.  Norris was taken before a Magistrate and placed in the Iredell County Jail under a $400,000 secured bond.  No court date is listed on the current charges; however, Norris is scheduled to appear in District Court on May 11 & 16 and on June 7 on a variety of charges involving firearms, marijuana, breaking & entering, stolen goods and assault.

Tucker has not been located.  Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts should call Statesville Police at 704-878-3406 or Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340.  Callers may remain anonymous.

39-year-old Donald Ray Fitzgerald of Deer Chase Circle in Statesville has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on two felony counts each of sexual offense with a child by an adult offender and statutory rape of a child by an adult offender.

On April 19, the Sheriff’s Office took a report in reference to a juvenile who was sexually assaulted by a family member.  The incidents allegedly took place from January 2010 through January 2011 in Statesville.  Witnesses were identified and interviewed.  As a result of information gathered, Donald Ray Fitzgerald was arrested and charged.  Additional charges are forthcoming.

Fitzgerald was taken to the Iredell Co. Detention Center where he was processed and given a $500,000 secured bond.  He was scheduled to appear in District Court today (April 24).

Fitzgerald has a criminal history including possession of marijuana, disorderly conduct, communicating threats and trespassing.

53-year-old Brian Clifton Hoyle, who is listed as a homeless person from Hickory, was arrested by Hickory Police at about 5:20 p.m. Friday (April 21) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Hoyle was arrested after interacting with Police at Catawba Valley Medical Center.  0.4 grams of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia were found on his person.

Hoyle was taken into custody without incident at the hospital and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $5,000 secured bond.  An appearance in District Court was set for today (April 24) in Newton.

Catawba County is celebrating Earth Day by hosting a new one-day residential household hazardous waste collection event Saturday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bandys High School, located at 5040 E. Bandys XRd. in Catawba. The event is open to Catawba County residents only and is free of charge.

Types of residential household hazardous waste accepted at the event include the following:
• Household cleaners such as drain openers, toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, disinfectants, and pine cleaners
• Paint products such as latex and oil-based paints, solvents, thinners, shellacs, varnishes, wood preservatives, and sealers
• Automotive products such as lead-acid batteries, used motor oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, and auto starter fluid
• Pesticides and insecticides such as poisons and aerosols
• Other chemical-based products such as acids, bases, kerosene, household batteries, photographic chemicals, pool chemicals, gas cylinders and mercury thermometers
• Electronics such as computer monitors and intact televisions, laptops, floppy drives, hard drives, ink/toner cartridges, modems, cell phones, answering machines, CD players, tape players, calculators, copiers, duplicators, microwaves, electronic typewriters, pagers, radios, remote controls, scanners, stereos, and VCRs

Plastic bag recycling will also be provided at the event courtesy of Keep Catawba County Beautiful. The first 200 people who bring plastic bags to be recycled will receive a reusable bag.

“Our annual fall collection event in Hickory is extremely popular with residents,” said Amanda Kain, Catawba County’s Recycling and Waste Reduction Coordinator. “We’ve added this second event to help make household hazardous waste recycling more convenient for residents in the southeastern part of the county. We appreciate the efforts of all our residents to help properly dispose of materials that can harm our health and our environment.”

For safety reasons, the event will not accept tires, radioactive waste, biologically active or infectious waste, unknown gases or chemicals, dioxin-related waste, explosives, household garbage, or TVs with internal parts removed. Prescription and over-the-counter medications also will not be accepted at this event; however, they are accepted at the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies year-round through the Operation Pillstoppers program.

To assist with electronics recycling and disposal, the county contracts with electronics recycling companies who are certified to ensure proper handling and security of the electronic waste collected. All data and data-bearing devices on electronic equipment will be destroyed, but the County cannot guarantee the non-disclosure of any information left on equipment. Additionally, please note that other vendors who may be set up outside the event are not associated with the event or Catawba County.

The one-day event is sponsored by Catawba County Utilities & Engineering and is co-sponsored by Republic Services, Keep Catawba County Beautiful and the NC State Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For more information, please contact Catawba County Utilities and Engineering at (828) 465-8217.

Alexander County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 Telecommunicator Michael Eric “Bubba” Pennell has died after he suffered a medical emergency Monday (April 17) while he was on-duty at the Central Alexander Fire Department.  He later passed away at Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory.

Mr. Pennell was 49 years old and had worked for the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office for more than 12 years.  He had been a volunteer fireman for the Central Alexander Fire Department for over 30 years.

Mr. Pennell is survived by his wife of 26 years, Amy, as well as three sisters and a number of nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends at Millersville Baptist Church tomorrow (April 22) from 1 p.m. until 3:45 p.m.  The funeral service will be held at 4 p.m.  Burial will follow in the church cemetery.  The church is located at 130 Millersville Church Road in Taylorsville.

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