31-year-old Michael Anthony Pizza has been arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers and charged with five counts as an adult offender committing a sexual offense with a child and five counts of indecent liberties with a child.
Events leading to his arrest began on January 22 of this year when a report was filed regarding a child who was assaulted by an acquaintance. The case was assigned to Detective Patrick Dixson of the Special Victim’s Unit and the child was interviewed at the Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center. Several additional witnesses were identified and interviewed.
As a result of the investigation, Michael Anthony Pizza was arrested and taken to the Iredell County Detention Center where he was processed and given a $1,000,000 secured bond. He’ll appear in District Court on April 10.
Pizza has a criminal history including assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree trespass, injury to personal property, assault on a female and violation of a domestic violence protective order.
28-year-old Joshua James Hampton of Rock Barn Road NE in Conover was arrested Wednesday (March 22) by Granite Falls Police Officers. He's charged with felony possession of a stolen firearm and probation violation. Hampton was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $180,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, March 23).
27-year-old Justin Robert Campbell and 24-year-old Morgan Noel Monroe, both of the same Gypsy Drive, Statesville address, were both arrested last Saturday (March 18) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. Both suspects are charged with
felony counts of breaking and entering, and two counts of Larceny after Breaking and Entering. Campbell is also charged with one count of Possession of Firearm by Felon.
On February 21, 2017, Justin Campbell and his girlfriend, Morgan Monroe, allegedly entered a residence on Lucas Lane in Statesville thinking that no one was home. The homeowner surprised the couple who then tried to offer house and yard work for hire. While the suspects were in the home, $160 was removed from a pocketbook.
The couple then allegedly returned on March 9, when the homeowner was not there. The couple broke a window to gain access to the home and removed U.S. currency, two rifles, and a revolver. Campbell then made multiple attempts to sell the firearms.
Campbell received a $10,000 secured bond and Monroe's bond was set at $5,000 secured. Both suspects are scheduled to appear in District Court April 10. The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be forthcoming.
39-year-old Forrest Henry Mask was arrested Wednesday (March 22) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule II controlled substance. Mask was placed in jail in Morganton under $6,500 secured bond. A court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, March 23).
36-year-old Eve Caroline Carpenter was arrested this morning (Thursday, March 23) by authorities in Burke County. She's charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance. Carpenter was placed in jail in Morganton under $3,500 secured bond. A court appearance was scheduled for today.
60-year-old Samuel Robin Tallent of Cansler Road in Vale was arrested Tuesday (March 21) by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with three felony counts apiece of the sale of methamphetamine, delivery of meth, and possession with intent to sell and deliver meth.
The charges against Tallent stem from a several months-long investigation into methamphetamine sales in western Lincoln County. Detectives say several street level methamphetamine buys were made from the man on multiple dates at various locations throughout the Vale area. Using undercover and surveillance techniques, detectives were able to identify the man and build a case.
Warrants were obtained on March 17 but Narcotics Detectives were unable to locate the suspect. On Tuesday, patrol deputies with Adam District located and arrested the man near the intersection of Bud Davis Road and Peeler Road.
Tallent was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under $15,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for April 10.
Firefighters continued to battle a wildfire Wednesday (March 22) in the Linville Gorge area.
Burnout operations were conducted on the south end of the White Creek Fire Wednesday afternoon with the objective of securing private property. The fire, which was reported Thursday March 16, is burning near Shortoff Mountain at the south end of Linville Gorge on the Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. The fire is now estimated at 2,750 acres and 50% contained. Law enforcement officials determined lightning to be the likely cause of the fire.
The fire continues to burn within the containment lines. Atmospheric conditions this afternoon are causing smoke to lift upward before dispersing, instead of settling at ground level. This caused the smoke plume to be much more visible Wednesday evening. There were concerns that smoke may impact areas close to the fire overnight.
Passing storms Tuesday evening (March 21) provided no measurable rainfall on the fire. The storms did produce lightning elsewhere in surrounding area, prompting firefighters to respond to multiple new ignitions which were extinguished at small acreages.
Today (Thursday, March 23) firefighters were scheduled to patrol and monitor the fire area, as well as work to extinguish any hot spots near fire lines. Minor burnout operations may occur. 154 firefighters are currently on scene.
An area closure is in effect for all U.S. Forest Service lands east of State Road 1238 (Old NC 105 / Kistler Memorial Highway), south of Conley Cove Trail (Tr #229), south of Table Rock Picnic Area, west of Back Irish Creek Forest Service Road #118 (Blue Gravel Road) and Roses Creek Forest Service Road #99, north of Highway 126. In addition, the following trails are closed: Shortoff Trail (Tr #235), Rock Jock Trail (Tr #247), Pinch-In Trail (Tr #228), Linville Gorge Trail (Tr #231) south of Conley Cove Trail (Tr #229), Mountains to Sea Trail (Tr #440) from State Road 1238 at Pinnacles to the Table Rock Picnic Area, and any social trails existing within the closure area. Public entry is prohibited within this area.
37-year-old James Brandon Smith of Phoenix Drive in Newton was arrested Wednesday (March 22) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged on grand jury indictments with three counts of being an habitual felon, two counts of break or enter a motor vehicle, and single counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and larceny of a motor vehicle.
In addition, Smith is charged with two counts apiece of larceny of a motor vehicle, felony larceny, and breaking and entering. He faces single counts of misdemeanor larceny, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of burglary tools, possession of stolen goods or property, misdemeanor escape from a local jail, assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, and break or enter a motor vehicle. Smith was also charged with fifteen counts of failure to appear.
Following the arrest, Smith was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $881,000 bond. District and Superior Court appearances were scheduled for today (Thursday, March 23). Smith also has District Court appearances scheduled for April 5 and 21.
30-year-old Aaron L. Johnson of Charlesvoix Avenue in Lincolnton was arrested by Lincolnton Police Monday (March 20) on charges of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana, maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance and possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
At about eleven o’clock Monday night, patrol units responded to Johnson’s residence as part of an active investigation. The investigation was the result of information provided by a concerned citizen.
Officers made contact with Johnson and a search was conducted. In the residence, Officers found 164 grams of high-grade marijuana, packaged for sale. Also found were a set of digital scales, baggies, a marijuana grinder and $7,000 in cash. The marijuana seized has an estimated value of $2,100.
Johnson was arrested and placed in the Lincoln County Jail under a $3,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in court date of yesterday (March 21).
Hickory Police are investigating a robbery at Family Video on 29th Avenue N.E. in Hickory.
The incident occurred just before ten o’clock last night (March 21). A 16-year-old male employee was robbed by a suspect armed with a handgun. The suspect fled with a substantial amount of cash. The clerk was not injured.
No description of the suspect and no video of the incident are available at this time.
Anyone with information regarding the robbery should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.
26-year-old Keyon Shaqual Miller and 26-year-old Phillip Bejoun Westmoreland, who are listed as residents of different addresses on Caldwell Street in Statesville, were both arrested Tuesday (March 21) by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. Miller is charged with felony flee to elude arrest in a motor vehicle and driving while license revoked. Westmoreland is charged with resisting a public officer.
According to a news release from the Iredell County Sheriff's Office. On Tuesday, members of the Aggressive Criminal Enforcement (A.C.E) Team were conducting a license checking station in the 2400 block of Amity Hill Road. Shortly after 5 p.m. a vehicle approached the checking station and abruptly stopped in the middle of the road prior to the checking station. The vehicle then began to travel in reverse at a high rate of speed on Amity Hill Road away from the checking station and ran off the road nearly wrecking.
An officer attempted to stop the vehicle but the driver refused to stop. The occupants began to throw what appeared to be drugs out of the vehicle while they were fleeing. Deputies chased the vehicle and the chase came to an end on Durham Avenue on the south side of Statesville. The occupants then ran on foot from the vehicle and were quickly apprehended in a residence on Caldwell Street.
Miller, who was the driver of the vehicle, received a $30,000 secured bond. Westmoreland received a $5,000 secured bond. No court dates were listed. Both suspects have extensive criminal history and both have been convicted of violent felony crimes. Miller has been convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Westmoreland is a verified gang member and has been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, discharge a firearm into an occupied dwelling, and felony larceny.
32-year-old Amanda Nicole Hollar was arrested today (Wednesday, March 22) by authorities in Burke County. She's charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance. Hollar was placed in jail in Morganton under $4,500 secured bond. A court appearance was scheduled for today.
32-year-old Amy Canterbury Blackburn of 10th Avenue Drive N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police just before 6 p.m. yesterday on one felony count of embezzlement. The warrant for her arrest was issued in August of 2015 by the Granite Falls Police Department.
Blackburn was taken into custody at her residence. She was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $1,000 secured bond. She has since been released. An appearance in Superior Court was scheduled for May 1 in Lenoir.
44-year-old Francisco Augustin Ailon of Cincinnati was given an active prison sentence of at least 20 years after pleading guilty to multiple sexual offenses involving an underage female family member during Burke County Superior Court on Monday (March 20).
The Honorable Daniel A. Kuhnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, sentenced Ailon to a prison term of 20-29 years following his guilty plea to statutory rape of a child 13, 14 or 15 years old, incest with a child 13 years old and indecent liberties with a child. Ailon will serve his prison sentence in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
The victim reported to another family member on June 28, 2016, that the defendant had sexual relations with her. During a forensic interview with Beth Cali of the Gingerbread House Child Advocacy Center in Burke County, the victim said the acts took place over a lengthy period of time starting in March 2012. She said Ailon forced her to engage in sexual acts repeatedly.
When confronted by family members about the allegations, the defendant confessed they were true. The victim did not tell anyone what was happening out of fear of what he would do to her if he found out.
Joseph Beaver of Morganton Department of Public Safety investigated the case with assistance from Beth Cali. Michelle Lippert handled prosecution for the State.
Authorities are looking for a missing person, 26-year-old Darwin Lewis “D.J.” Turner, Jr. of Statesville. Mr. Turner was last seen on Thursday, March 16, in Hickory near Highway 127. At that time, he was with friends in a gold Ford Explorer.
Mr. Turner is a black male. He is about six feet tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds. He has tattoos on his right arm.
Mr. Turner’s loved ones are concerned that he may be injured or in trouble.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Darwin Lewis “D.J.” Turner, Jr. should call the Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Office at 828-878-3180.
A Morganton man will spend a minimum of 25 years in prison after entering a guilty plea to multiple charges in Burke County Superior Court on Monday (March 20). 44-year-old Stacy Heatley pleaded guilty to attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Heatley was given an active prison term of 25 to 31 years in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections by the Honorable Daniel A. Kuehnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County.
Heatley and a female co-defendant were involved in an assault and robbery at a residence on Pete Brittain Road on Dec. 16, 2016. The victim, who was helping the co-defendant move out of a mobile home, was tied up and beaten in the head with a hammer then robbed of $6,500 in cash and his pickup truck.
The victim’s truck was recovered in Marion, and the defendants later were arrested at a Winston-Salem hotel after numerous people contacted law enforcement officers about their location.
Heatley admitted his involvement, telling investigators that he hit the victim with the hammer when he saw him hugging on the co-defendant. He later smashed a glass chicken on top of the victim’s head after he had been bound. He also told investigators that he and the co-defendant planned to rob the victim and had engaged in such behavior before.
The co-defendant has a July 2017 court date and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The victim had severe injuries and was transported by helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte where he was treated for multiple skull fractures and swelling on his brain. The injuries were described as life-threatening, and he was hospitalized for more than two weeks.
Det. Daniel Strauss led the investigation for the Burke County Sheriff’s Office. Michelle Lippert prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.
31-year-old Christopher Ross Canella of Kenham Place in Lenoir was arrested Tuesday (March 21) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of cocaine. Canella was confined in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $2,500 secured bond. No court date was listed.
35-year-old Christopher Scott Loftis of Norlan Road in Charlotte was arrested Tuesday (March 21) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of schedule I controlled substance and misdemeanor possession with intent to manufacture schedule VI controlled substance. Loftis was locked up in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $4,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for Tuesday.
26-year-old Homer Joseph Hamilton Jr. of Sleepy Hollow Road in Lenoir was arrested Tuesday (March 21) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged on a bill of indictment with possession of methamphetamine, felony larceny, felony possession of stolen goods or property, possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts apiece of felony breaking and entering to a motor vehicle, misdemeanor larceny, and misdemeanor possession of stolen goods or property. Hamilton was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $6,000 secured bond. A Superior Court date is set for May 1.
45-year-old Pamela Alice Moses of 2nd Street in Valdese was arrested Tuesday (March 21) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony breaking and entering. Moses was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Thursday (March 23).