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Thursday, 23 April 2015 10:12

Woman Reports Theft of $65K in Jewelry

A 57-year-old woman has filed a police report regarding the theft of jewelry from a safe deposit box at a local bank. The victim estimates the value of the stolen items at $65,000.

The woman said she placed the jewelry in the box in March of 2014. She next checked the box a year later and found the items -- including gold necklaces, bracelets and earrings – missing. The victim told Police she approached bank staff in an effort to go through proper channels.

She filed the police report yesterday (April 22) on the advice of her attorney.

Hickory Police are investigating.

The Hickory Public Schools Board of Education is seeking direct input from interested members of the community to help shape the search process and assist in defining the qualities and characteristics of the next Hickory Public Schools (HPS) superintendent.

The board invites parents and community members to participate in a short community survey that can be accessed and completed online by clicking the survey link on the main HPS webpage: www.hickoryschools.net or through the Hickory Public Schools Facebook page. The community survey link will also be posted on individual school websites and individual school Facebook pages. Paper copies of the surveys will be available at the HPS administrative services building (432 4th Avenue S.W. in Hickory), in the front office at each school site and at all regular HPS Board of Education meetings.

All surveys must be completed by Tuesday, May 19. Results will be presented at the May 26 school board meeting.

37-year-old Brian Kelly Brackett of Casar Lawndale Road in Casar has been arrested by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Officers on two felony counts each of larceny and possession of stolen goods.

Brackett is accused of taking $1,100 and $2,000 in cash from a truck at Mitchem Farms on Hallman Mill Road in Vale on two separate occasions. On April 2, the business owner told Officers he was having a problem with money being stolen from his vehicle. The victim also reported in March that someone had stolen refrigerators, a water heater and a truck from the farm.

Following his arrest, Brackett, a former Mitchem Farms employee, was taken before a Lincoln County Magistrate where he was given a $5,000 unsecured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court today (April 22).

The investigation into the theft of the truck and appliances is continuing.

The Discovery Place Education Studio has its 2015 cohort STEM Fellows, a three-year fellowship that prepares local teachers for dynamic, hands-on learning experiences in order to deliver high-impact STEM lessons in the classroom that prepare students for real world challenges.

With over 70 applications received, 26 educators from North Carolina and South Carolina were selected for the 2015 STEM Fellows cohort. Among those chosen was Renee Jewell, who teaches in the Exceptional Children’s Department at Newton-Conover Middle School.

The new STEM Fellows were invited to participate in Discovery Place Education Studio’s first annual Carolinas STEM Conference last Friday (April 17), along with 95 other North and South Carolina educators. The sold out conference promoted active involvement from its participants by offering hands-on and engaging demonstrations like 3D printing, simple soldering, circuit art and ocean literacy.

24-year-old George Aaron Rhinehardt of 23rd Avenue N.E. in Hickory has been arrested by Hickory Police on one felony count of larceny and one felony count of possession of stolen goods or property.

He was arrested in connection to an incident in April of last year. On April 11, 2014, Officers responded to the Style Exchange, a second-hand store, on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory in reference to a man at the store attempting to sell seven stolen watches.

The victim, a Hickory man, was acquainted with Rhinehardt, who had been in his home the previous day. The victim contacted the manager at the Style Exchange to be on the alert for the stolen watches.

Warrants for Rhinehardt’s arrest were issued on February 5. The suspect was taken into custody without incident at about 6:45 yesterday evening. It’s not clear why the delay between the incident, the issuance of warrants and the actual arrest. Most of the watches were recovered.

Rhinehardt was processed at H.P.D. and then released under a $1,000 unsecured bond. He will appear in District Court on April 24 in Newton.

Detectives with the Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Office are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect in a crime that took place last month.

A larceny occurred at the Dollar General store on the Old Mocksville Highway on March 25. Surveillance video captured photos of the female in question.

Anyone with information regarding the larceny should contact Detective Sergeant J. Wyatt at 704-878-3180 or call Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340.

The City of Newton experienced four wastewater spills during the heavy rain that fell on April 19.

A spill at 1442 N.C. Highway 10 West was estimated at 3,550 gallons, reaching Hildebran Creek. A spill at 922 West 1st Street was estimated at 1,100 gallons, also reaching Hildebran Creek. At 1857 Burris Road, an estimated 1,950 gallons reached McLin Creek, and a spill at 1432 N.C. Highway 10 West was estimated at 3,450 gallons, reaching Hildebran Creek.

The Mooresville Regional Office of the Division of Water Resources was notified and is reviewing the matter. The spill had no negative impact on the environment.

For more information, contact Dennis Falder, Assistant Public Works & Utilities Director, at 828-695-4298.

A pre-dawn drug round up, known as Operation 420, was conducted yesterday (April 20) by Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigators, Criminal Investigators, the Aggressive Criminal Enforcement Team (ACE), the Interstate Criminal Enforcement Team (ICE) and the Warrant Squad.

32 individuals with warrants for the sale of narcotics were targeted. The warrants stem from investigations in which the suspects allegedly sold drugs -- ranging from heroin, crack, powder cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription medications, ecstasy and marijuana -- to undercover Investigators.

According to a news release from the Iredell County Sheriff's Office, most of the suspects have lengthy criminal histories.  More arrests are expected in the coming days.  

As of this morning (April 21), 12 suspects remained at large.  They are:

  • Kenneth Basil Stewart, Jr.,
  • Casey Nicole Hines,
  • Justin Robert Campbell,
  • Alvin Lee Holland,
  • Michael Patrick O’Brien,
  • Tilden Trymaine Miller,
  • Dewayne Montel Jones,
  • Chadrick TyQuan McGee,
  • Alexis Summers Caldwell,
  • Chazman Antonio Houston,
  • Stepfon Loranzo Willis, and
  • Jordan Alexandria Tynes.
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 13:54

Lincolnton Apt. Fire Victim Identified

The woman killed in an apartment fire last night (April 20) has been identified as 65-year-old Melinda Holt Thomas of Bailey Springs Drive in Lincolnton.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputies and fire departments from Boger City, Lincolnton and North 321 were dispatched to the structure fire around 7:30 p.m. Monday night.

Ms. Thomas was already deceased when Boger City Firefighters pulled her body from the apartment. The body was found lying on the floor about 15 feet from the entrance. Firefighters extinguished a small fire in the corner of a room where the bed was located. Fire officials believe the fire started on the bed where several cigarette butts were located.

Ms. Thomas’ next-of-kin have been notified.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.

23-year-old Stephon Lorenzo Willis of Kings Street in Statesville was arrested by Hickory Police at about 6:45 Saturday evening (April 18) on one felony count of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana greater than half an ounce but less than an ounce and a half.

He was arrested when Officers on foot patrol on the 1100 block of 2nd Street Place S.E. in Hickory saw a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot. Officers approached and asked for I.D. When the Officers asked if there was any contraband in the vehicle, Willis said there was a bag containing marijuana in the center armrest. No marijuana was found there, but Police did find 26.5 grams of pot in the dashboard area.

Willis took responsibility for the marijuana. A second person in the vehicle was not charged.

Willis was taken into custody and later released on an $8,500 secured bond. He will appear in District Court on May 21 in Hickory. Willis also has Iredell County court dates on marijuana charges coming up on April 22 and May 6.