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17-year-old Jose Manuel Rodriguez, Jr. of Vermillion Drive Statesville and 19-year-old Quadarius DeShawn Rankin of Sparrow Lane, both from Statesville, have been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers. They were both charged with felony breaking & entering and larceny after breaking & entering. Rodriguez was also charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle and obtaining property by false pretense.

Tuesday (January 6), the Sheriff’s Office took a report regarding a residential break-in on the Harmony Highway. Between 3 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., property valued at approximately $10,000 was stolen from the residence. Deputies responded to the scene, spoke to the owner and processed the scene for evidence. The victim said one of the items stolen was a truck that was sitting in his driveway.

Deputies issued a call to be on the lookout for the stolen vehicle. The truck was stopped by Statesville Police shortly after midnight. The vehicle was driven by Rodriguez. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene and took Rodriguez into custody.

Further investigation revealed that Rodriguez had sold a computer, also believed to have to have been stolen earlier in the evening, to a friend of his. Deputies recovered the computer and returned it and the truck to the victim.

Additional leads developed after Rodriguez’s arrest led to the identification of Rankin as a second suspect. He was arrested at his home early in the morning hours the next day.

Rodriguez was given a $10,000 secured bond. Rodriguez also has a pending court date on January 15 on a separate charge for felony larceny of a motor vehicle. Rankin’s bond was set at $2,500, secured. Rankin was previously placed on six months probation in November of last year for simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. No court date on the latest charges is currently listed for either suspect.

The National Fraternal Order of Police and C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors) have designated January 9 as National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Governor Pat McCrory has also issued a similar proclamation in North Carolina.

In a statement issued today (January 9), the Governor encourages “everyone to take time to thank law enforcement officials and recognize the sacrifices they make daily for our safety”.

44 North Carolina Law Enforcement Officers have lost their lives in the line of duty over the past 10 years. More than 24,000 Officers were assaulted in the line of duty during the ten-year period from 2004 to 2013.

City of Newton Code Enforcement Officer Jon Raines took the law enforcement oath of office on Tuesday, January 6.

Raines has served as Newton’s Code Enforcement Officer since October 2012. He graduated at the top of his class from Catawba Valley Community College’s Basic Law Enforcement Training. The training includes the study of legal guidelines, patrol duties, law enforcement communications, investigations and practical applications of law enforcement techniques.

Raines will continue serving as Newton’s Code Enforcement Officer where he spends much time working alongside Law Enforcement Officers. He will be able now to assume the responsibilities of a Police Officer while simultaneously executing his duties as Code Enforcement Officer.

The Boone Police Department released a statement yesterday (January 8) confirming that the death of Appalachian State University student Anna Smith last fall was a suicide.

On September 13 of last year, Ms. Smith’s body was found in a wooded area off of Popular Grove Road in Boone. Prior to the discovery, Appalachian State University Police and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation had been investigating Smith's disappearance. Ms. Smith had been reported missing by her college roommate on September 3.

Because Ms. Smith’s body was found off campus, the Boone Police Department took over the investigation. Boone Police Detectives continued to call on the S.B.I. and A.S.U. Police for assistance during the investigation. The F.B.I. also assisted.

On November 25, the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office released an autopsy and toxicology report from the Smith investigation. The report indicated the cause of death as hanging and the manner of death as suicide.

Boone Police Investigations Commander Lt. Chris Hatton said that, separate and apart from the Medical Examiner's investigation, the Police Department’s investigation has led to the same conclusion.

The Boone Police Department expressed its appreciation to the citizens and law enforcement Officers who assisted in the case.

27-year-old Bradley William Hughes of Love Road in Claremont was arrested Wednesday afternoon (January 7) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with one felony count of possession of a controlled substance in jail. Following the arrest, Hughes was detained inthe Catawba County Detention Facility under a $5,000 bond.  He has since been released. A District Court appearance was set for tomorrow (January 9.)

38-year-old Debbie Shannon Watson of Lawing Street in Lincolnton was arrested at about 6:20 p.m. yesterday (January 7) by Hickory Police on one felony count of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana, shoplifting and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to Police reports, the drug charge was filed after Watson was found to be in possession of 18.1 grams of marijuana. She was taken into custody without incident at Hickory’s Valley Hills Mall and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $5,000, secured. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for tomorrow in Newton.

29-year-old Billy Ray Green, Jr. of Elizabeth Avenue and 33-year-old Andrew Brooks of Hoffman Road, both from Lincolnton, have been charged with one count each of misdemeanor larceny and misdemeanor possession of stolen goods.

A quick response from the public yesterday (January 7) led to the arrest of two people for the theft of trail cameras from a resident on the 4900 block of Highway 73. Following a news release that was reported by local and social media, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office received more than 30 calls from the public identifying the suspects.

The cameras, valued at $850, were reported missing on December 31. One of the cameras continued to send back email pictures to the victim after it was stolen.

Last night, the suspects brought the stolen cameras to the Sheriff’s Office where they were interviewed by Detectives. Green and Brooks reported to the Sheriff’s Office this morning and were taken before a Magistrate and then released after they each posted a $1,000 unsecured bond. No court dates are currently listed.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office expressed its appreciation to the public and the news media for their help in the case.

Thursday, 08 January 2015 11:37

NewArt School of Music Adds Two to Faculty

The NewArt School of Music, which operates out of the Newton-Conover Auditorium, has announced two additions to its faculty.

Harpist Grace Wepner-Ludtke is returning to NewArt School of Music after a brief hiatus. Wepner-Ludtke is a professional harpist, performing solo, chamber and orchestral music for audiences throughout the Southeast.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music with a concentration in harp performance from Converse College. She has performed in venues throughout the United States and Europe, including Carnegie Hall, St. George's Church, Lincoln Cathedral and Liben Castle. Wepner-Ludtke currently performs with the North Carolina Harp Ensemble conducted by Jacquelyn Bartlett and serves as Ensemble Manager.

Jeremy Whitener has been hired to teach voice. Whitener received his degree in Choral & Vocal Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2013. While at UNCG, Whitener taught voice and led master classes and coached middle school and high school age singers.

He has performed in many venues across North Carolina, singing a variety of styles ranging from musical theater, opera, art song, pop and more. Whitener currently teaches elementary music at Mountain View Elementary and conducts the Chancel Choir at Friendship United Methodist Church.

The NewArt School offers instruction in piano, guitar, flute, harp, voice and more. For more information, contact Ingrid Keller at ikeller@newton-conoverauditorium.org or 828-464-8100. The Newton-Conover Auditorium is located at 60 West 6th Street in Newton.

36-year-old Natasha Marie Bolden of Highway 16 South in Taylorsville turned herself in at Hickory Police headquarters at about 10:45 yesterday morning (January 7) on two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense.

Events leading to her arrest began on November 4 when Police responded to Neill Grading & Construction Company on Tate Boulevard in reference to worthless checks written by Bolden for construction on two businesses located in the Moretz Mill building.

The checks were returned for insufficient funds. Police did not release the amount of the bad checks, but did say the total value was less than $100,000. The businesses in question were to be a florist and a restaurant.

Bolden was processed at H.P.D. and then released after posting a $2,000 unsecured bond. She was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court tomorrow in Newton.

Wednesday, 07 January 2015 14:02

Suspect Sought in Theft of Trail Cameras

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Detectives are investigating the theft of two trail cameras from property on the 4900 block of Highway 73.

Deputies were dispatched to the victim’s residence at about 2:15 p.m. on December 31. The victim said two trail cameras attached to the same tree had been stolen. The cameras, valued at $850, were cable-locked to a tree on the backside of the property. The cameras were removed by breaking the case of the camera off the lock.

The camera was noticed missing when the victim received a picture in his email of the suspect taking the camera. One of the cameras continued to send back email pictures to the camera’s owner after it was stolen.  

The suspect appears to be a white male in his late 20s or early 30s with brown hair.

Detective Frank Runyon is the investigating officer.

Anyone who has information about the theft or can identify the suspect or the location in the photos should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909.

A Crime Stoppers tip leading to an arrest could result in a reward of up to $1,000.