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52-year-old Charlie Vance Rawlinson of Ansonia Court in Winston-Salem was arrested at about 7:30 Saturday evening (January 10) by Hickory Police on one felony count of habitual larceny or shoplifting.

Events leading to his arrest began about an hour earlier when a black male entered the El Paso restaurant on North Center Street in Hickory, went into the restaurant office and took cash from the office. The man fled as an employee chased him, on foot.

Officers arrived and canvassed the area. The found the suspect, Charlie Rawlinson, on foot outside the Lowe’s Home Improvement store on 2nd Street S.E. He was in possession of a screwdriver and cash.

Rawlinson was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $4,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court yesterday (January 12) in Newton.

Rawlinson has a history of criminal convictions, including two previous convictions as an habitual felon in October 2007 in Iredell County and November 1989 in Forsyth County. He also has also multiple convictions beginning in 1978 for breaking & entering, larceny, common law robbery and forgery in Iredell, Cleveland, Forsyth and Guilford counties.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 13:40

AMBER Alerts Will Appear on Facebook

The North Carolina Center for Missing Persons, which issues AMBER Alerts in the state, has announced a new partnership with Facebook to help find missing children. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has joined with Facebook to send AMBER Alerts to the social network’s community. Facebook’s distribution system will send AMBER Alerts to user’s news feeds.

Facebook authorities say that for most people, the alerts will be rare because they will only go to people within the designated search area. If a Facebook user does get an alert, it means there is an active search for an abducted child going on in that area. The alert will provide the critical information needed to potentially help reunite a child with his or her family.

The AMBER Alert system, which started in the United States in 1996, issues media alerts when a law enforcement agency determines that a child was abducted and is in imminent danger. AMBER stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and was named for Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas.

Lt. Jeff Gordon, director of the N.C. Center for Missing Persons says that getting detailed information to the public quickly dramatically improves the chances of finding an abducted child. When the community is able to report sightings of the child, the suspect or the suspect vehicle (especially in the first few hours), law enforcement is better able to find and recover the child safely.

The City of Morganton moved up 10 spots on the "Safest Places In North Carolina" list compiled by Movoto Real Estate, an online real estate company that does city-based research. In 2014, Morganton ranked #28 on Movoto's list. This year Morganton moved up the ranks to #18. Elsewhere in the region, Boone came in at #13 and Newton was ranked #20.

Movoto used the 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Report and examined North Carolina's crime in the following areas: murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts and vehicle thefts. The company sorted those reports into four categories: murders, violent crimes, property crimes and total crimes, and then calculated the number of crimes per capita in each of the 68 places in North Carolina with populations of 10,000 people or more.

From there, Movoto ranked each place with a score from 1 to 68 according in the above criteria and then weighted the rankings so that murders, violent crimes and property crimes each made up 30 percent of the overall score, while the total number of crimes made up just 10 percent.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 13:23

Conover Man Busted for Crack Cocaine

40-year-old Kelsey Jerrold Stinson of 8th Avenue S.W. in Conover was arrested by Hickory Police early Sunday morning (January 11) on felony counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver cocaine and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance.

He was arrested when an Officer on 1st Street S.W. heard a vehicle with a loud exhaust. The Officer then saw the silver Nissan 350Z traveling north on South Center Street with a left headlight out. A traffic stop was conducted at about 12:40 a.m. on the 200 block of South Center Street.

As the result of previous information regarding drug activity at a nearby residence, a K-9 Unit was called to the scene. Stinson gave Police permission to search the vehicle, leading to the discovery under the driver’s seat of a pill bottle containing 7.4 grams of crack cocaine. $321 in cash was also found.

Stinson was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $5,000, secured. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled yesterday (January 12) in Newton.

Jeri and Tom Hartshorn, the new owners of Whitfield's Flowers & More, are holding an open house and ribbon cutting today to celebrate the opening of Whitfield's new location.

The open house will run from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. today (January 13) with the official ribbon cutting set for 3 p.m. Whitfield's Flowers & More is located at 840 2nd Street N.E. (Highway 127 North) in Viewmont.

Chamber members and the public are invited to attend. Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and elected officials will be on hand to offer congratulatory remarks.

31-year-old Alisha Diane Harrison of Miller Bridge Road in Connelly Springs was arrested by Hickory Police late last night (January 12) on a warrant out of Burke County for felony possession of a schedule II controlled substance. The warrant for her arrest was issued on October 8 of last year.

Harrison was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $7,000 secured bond. She has since been released. An appearance in District Court was set for February 16 in Morganton.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 11:29

Statesville Police Seek Vehicle B&E Suspect

The Statesville Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect involved in a vehicle breaking & entering and larceny that occurred at the Elk’s Lodge on Radio Station Road in Statesville. The incident occurred at about 7:30 p.m. on December 31.

The suspect broke out a vehicle window in the parking lot and removed a purse from inside. Shortly after taking the purse, the suspect attempted to use the victim’s bankcard at an ATM in the parking lot at the Signal Hill Mall. The suspect is described only as an “unknown male.”

The Statesville Police Criminal Investigations Division is currently investigating the incident. Anyone with information concerning the identity of the suspect should call 704-878-3515 or call Iredell Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340. Callers can remain anonymous and a cash reward is possible.

The owner of Backstreets Bar & Grill on 14th Avenue N.E. in Hickory was the victim of a scam yesterday (January 12). At about 6 p.m., a caller who claimed to be with Duke Energy told the victim his power would be turned off if he didn’t immediately pay a power bill in the amount of $1,500. The victim used a debit card to pay $500 and used a credit card to purchase a pre-paid Green Dot card in the amount of $504. Hickory Police are investigating.

A number of similar scams have been reported in the Unifour in December 2014 and earlier in the fall. Those include callers who claim to represent Microsoft Windows and the Internal Revenue Service, in addition to those who demand immediate payment for overdue utility bills.

In the last few days, three Town of Boone commercial water customers have received phone calls from someone claiming to represent the Town of Boone. The caller demanded immediate payment for a delinquent account or the customer’s water would be shut off. A press release from the Boone Police Department states that the calls are a scam.

The Town of Boone may contact customers, as a courtesy, if their water account is delinquent and will accept credit card payment over the phone, but the Town of Boone never will demand immediate payment. All calls from the Town of Boone should come from a local number. The Town of Boone never uses independent contractors to make calls on its behalf.  

Anyone who receives a call from a person claiming to be from the Town of Boone should feel free to contact the Water Department at 828-268-6220 before making any payments or sharing any financial information.

The scam is similar to a scam reported by New River Light & Power on January 9. Authorities in Morganton also reported a similar scam last October.

Monday, 12 January 2015 17:29

Silver Alert Issued for Hickory Man

The N.C. Center for Missing Persons has issued a Silver Alert for a missing endangered man, 50-year-old Jay Richard Zeidel, who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment.

Mr. Zeidel is a white male. He is 6’0” tall and weighs 190 pounds. He has brown, medium-length hair and brown eyes.

Mr. Zeidel was last seen at 3515 12th Street Drive N.E. in Hickory. He may be en route to an apartment at 9945 Norwalk Road in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He may be traveling in a 1996 blue Honda with Pennsylvania license tag HXD8996.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Jay Richard Zeidel should call John Wienbrock at the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551.

Monday, 12 January 2015 14:21

Harmony Man Faces Felony Drug Charges

33-year-old Andrew Curtis Creech of Harmony has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on two felony counts each of possession with intent to sell or deliver a schedule II controlled substance, the sale of a schedule II controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling for the sale of a schedule II controlled substance.

Events unfolded as Iredell County Narcotics Investigators received information from the community regarding possible drug activity in the area of 3133 Harmony Highway where an unknown person was selling prescription pills. Detectives conducted surveillance operations and developed further information on the suspect, Andrew Curtis Creech. Undercover drug purchases were made over the course of a few weeks resulting in the purchase of over $300 in prescription medication from the suspect.

After searching the suspect’s residence last Thursday (January 8), Creech was arrested and placed in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $20,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court was set for January 26.

Creech was also arrested last month in Iredell County on burglary and larceny charges, as reported December 30 on WHKY.