Friday, 22 September 2017 10:31

Hickory Man Faces Felony Firearms Charges

32-year-old James Devin Throneburg of George Hildebran School Road in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (September 22) on one felony count each of larceny of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon.  The warrants for his arrest were issued in June of 2016.

Throneburg was taken into custody without incident at an apartment complex in N.W. Hickory at 2:20 this morning.  He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond.  He has since been released.  An appearance in District Court was set for Monday (September 25) in Newton.

Thursday, 21 September 2017 17:33

Iron Station Man Arrested on Child Porn Charges

36-year-old Robert Lee Powell of N.C. Highway 73 in Iron Station has been arrested by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Officers on five felony counts each of second-degree exploitation of a minor and third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

His arrest came about when Lincoln County Detectives assisted the F.B.I. Task Force with the execution of a search warrant at Powell’s residence.  During the search, Officers found child pornography on computers in the residence.  The computers were analyzed at a Digital Forensics Lab and that information was reviewed by Investigators.  The images depicted children between the ages of 7 and 9 years of age.

Warrants were issued for Powell’s arrest.  He turned himself in at the Magistrate’s office today (September 21).  He was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $150,000 secured bond.  A first appearance in Lincoln County District Court was set for tomorrow.

29-year-old Robert Spencer Keppel of 1st Street N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (September 21) on two counts of larceny, 19 counts of breaking & entering a motor vehicle, two counts of larceny of a firearm and single counts of financial transaction card fraud and identity theft.  Those charges are all felonies.  He was also charged with eight misdemeanor counts of larceny and one misdemeanor count of injury to personal property.

On September 9, Hickory Police responded to reports of larceny from a vehicle at Lenoir-Rhyne University.  Property, including credit cards, was taken.  The credit cards were used at several area businesses.  The suspect was identified as Robert Keppel and warrants for his arrest were issued on September 19 & 20.

Kepple was taken into custody without incident just after 4 a.m. today at a hotel on 13th Avenue Drive N.W. in Hickory.  He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $153,000, secured.  He’ll appear in District Court tomorrow and again on September 25 and October 26.

32-year-old Joshua Alan Ruch of West First Street in Newton was arrested yesterday (September 20) by Hickory Police on two felony counts each of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and trafficking in methamphetamine, plus one felony count of possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana and one misdemeanor count of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer.

As reported last Friday (September 15) on WHKY, Ruch was wanted in connection to an attempted robbery at about 8 p.m. on September 13 in the parking lot at the Walmart store on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory.  During the robbery, Ruch allegedly displayed a handgun and demanded money from the victim.

The other charges are from outstanding warrants for Ruch’s arrest.  Police continue to search for a frequent companion of Ruch’s.  She is Erin Olivia Shell, who is wanted on a charge of felony larceny of a motor vehicle.  Shell remains at large.

Ruch was arrested without incident at about 2:25 yesterday afternoon at the Hickory Police Department.  He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $225,000, secured.  He was scheduled to appear in District Court today in Newton.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in locating 17-year-old Davin Caelen Ratliff.  He left his home in the middle of the night and is considered to be a runaway.

Mr. Ratliff is described as a white male.  He is 5’9” tall with green eyes and brown hair.  He is believed to be in the area of Burke, McDowell or Rutherford counties.   

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Davin Caelen Ratliff should call the Burke County Sheriff’s Office at 828-438-5500.

49-year-old Homer Lee Honaker, Jr. of Newton was given an active prison sentence of at least six years following a guilty plea for manufacturing methamphetamine.  The Honorable Forrest D. Bridges, Superior Court Judge from Cleveland County, sentenced Honaker to serve six-to-eight years in Catawba County Superior Court yesterday (September 20).

In October of last year, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office that Honaker was manufacturing meth.  Honaker was on probation at the time.  Probation Officers requested consent to search Honaker’s residence.  Three other Officers were present as items consistent with the manufacture of meth were found, along with the remnants of a one-bottle meth lab that was filled with liquid containing meth.  

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Lab confirmed that the substance was meth.  Honaker admitted to cooking methamphetamine and described the process he used to manufacture the illegal substance.

Undercover Officers with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation, with assistance from the S.B.I.  Sean Baetjer handled the prosecution for the District Attorney’s Office.

31-year-old Preston Sentel Woods of Newton was given an active prison sentence of five-to-seven years after pleading guilty to failure to register a new address as a sex offender.  He was also sentenced as an habitual felon.  The Honorable Nathaniel J. Poovey, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, handed down the sentence in Catawba County Superior Court Monday (September 18).

The habitual felony designation comes as the result of prior felony convictions for indecent liberties with children (May 2007), sex offender unlawfully on premises occupied by children (January 2014) and failure to report a change of address (January 2015), all in Catawba County.

Authorities were unable to locate Woods at the Hickory residence he registered with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office in January 2016.  Sheriff’s Officers and Catawba County Probation & Parole Officers exhausted numerous leads in attempts to locate Woods, who avoided them for five months before he turned himself in in June of 2016.

Darrin Lackey investigated the case for the Sheriff’s Office with assistance from Travis Osborne with Probation & Parole.  Michael Van Buren and Jonathan Greer handled the prosecution for the District Attorney’s Office.

The Alexander Co. Sheriff’s Office is requesting assistance in identifying the suspects who may have been involved in numerous recent breaking & entering and larceny of motor vehicle cases in the Bethlehem Community.  The suspects were driving an older model white Ford Taurus.  They were last seen in the Lenoir area.   

Anyone with information regarding the suspects should call the Sheriff’s Office at 828-632-2911 or Alexander County Crime Stoppers at 828-632-8555.  Detective Mark St. Clair is the lead Investigator.

A Burke County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Deputy and a school official dealt with an incident involving a juvenile and a firearm on school property at Table Rock Middle School in Burke County Tuesday morning (September 19).  

The incident involved a sixth-grade student who brought an unloaded weapon to the school.  The student retrieved the gun from his parents’ vehicle the previous night.  Students who saw the weapon promptly reported it to school administrators and to the school Resource Officer, who was on campus at the time.  The Officer immediately secured the weapon.  

No shots were fired and there were no injuries.  The school’s principal, Jennifer Hawkins, sent a message to all students’ parents informing them of the situation and assuring them that all students and school personnel were safe.

Juvenile Authorities are conducting an ongoing investigation.

18-year-old Robert Dijuan Nelson, Jr. of 10th Avenue Drive was arrested early Sunday morning (September 17) on one felony count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Events leading to his arrest began at about 7:30 a.m. on August 21 when Hickory Police performed a health check at an address on 2nd Street S.E.  Nelson was found on the scene in a 2006 black Chevrolet Suburban.  Nelson left the scene after he was checked by E.M.S.  Later that day, at about 3:15 p.m., Police responded to a stolen vehicle report on 18th Avenue N.E.  The vehicle was found at Tedder Recovery in Hickory after it was towed from the 2nd Street S.E address.  Warrants for Nelson’s arrest were issued the next day.  

He was taken into custody without incident at about 3:15 a.m. Sunday at a convenience store on Springs Road N.E.  Nelson was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $27,500 secured bond.  Nelson faces additional charges for a felony probation violation, resisting a public officer (two counts), simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and a parole violation.  A District Court date was scheduled yesterday (September 18) with additional court dates on September 21, October 9 and October 10, plus a Superior Court date on November 8.

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