Companies located in two area counties are among six North Carolina businesses who received 2018 Governor’s Export Awards Monday (January 14). They were honored during a ceremony highlighting their success in increasing overseas sales, as well as the significant role exporting plays in the state’s economy. According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the state's export of goods and services supports more than 400,000 jobs in the state.
The companies receiving 2018 Governor’s Export Awards in a ceremony at the North Carolina Executive Mansion included Bernhardt Furniture Company from Caldwell County and Advanced Detection Technology from Iredell County.
Bernhardt Furniture was named as the Top Rural Exporter. Established in Lenoir in 1889, Bernhardt remains one of the country’s largest family-owned furniture companies. With more than 1,250 employees worldwide, the company manufacturers furniture at eight locations in North Carolina and maintains corporate offices in High Point and six overseas locations.
Advanced Detection Technology in Mooresville was named as Top Small Business Exporter. This company is a world leader in the design and engineering of under-vehicle inspection systems to detect vehicle-borne threats. Advance Detection Technology has sales, marketing and technical support operations in North America, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and Africa.
The Governor’s Office developed the export award program in collaboration with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
A second person has been charged in connection to the theft of lawn equipment valued at more than $9,000 from a Lincolnton business. One suspect had already been taken into custody in this case.
As WHKY previously reported, 27-year-old Dustin Lee Mullinax of North Lincoln Street in High Shoals was arrested by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers and charged with two felony counts apiece of breaking and entering a building, larceny after breaking and entering, conspiracy and possession of stolen goods. He's also charged with one misdemeanor count apiece of breaking and entering to a motor vehicle and larceny. 28-year-old Christopher Brian Bell of Dallas has been named as the second suspect in the case, he is being sought by authorities and faces the same charges as Mullinax.
On January 3, 2019 deputies responded a residence on Prince Drive in Lincolnton in reference to a burglary. The victim told officers that he had been on vacation and when he returned his building, truck and house had been broken into. The victim runs a lawn care business and a number of items were reported stolen. Stolen in the break-in were two 60 inch cut zero turn mowers, two brush cutters, two backpack blowers, an air compressor and other items including a laptop and approximately $200 in change.
During the investigation detectives learned that a neighbor saw a silver or blue van pull into the driveway of the home on Christmas Eve. Two people exited the vehicle and started loading equipment in the van and on a trailer. The neighbor did not find that suspicious because the van had been there before. A former employee, Dustin Lee Mullinax, was developed as one of the suspects and officers discovered that some of the items had been pawned at area pawn shops in Gaston County. All of the stolen property was recovered except for a zero turn mower and a utility trailer. A generator and an IPad were recovered from the Mullinax residence in High Shoals, NC.
Detective Justin Link continued the investigation and identified the second suspect as Christopher Brian Bell. Mullinax was arrested on January 6 and placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond. He had a District Court appearance scheduled today (January 17). Deputies were continuing their search for Bell. If you have information on this case contact the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.
An Alexander County woman is among new supsects added to the Iredell County most wanted list. 24-year-old Shakyra Lashay Smith is wanted for felony obtaining property by false pretense. The last known address for Smith was 193 4th Street Northeast in Taylorsville.
24-year-old Robert John Mazzullo is another new name on the Iredell County most wanted list. He's wanted for nine counts of felony stalking, and felony possession of a stolen vehicle. Mazzullo's last known address was 178 Woodwinds Drive in Mooresville.
27-year-old Patricia Yates was also recently added to the most wanted list. She's charged with felony counts of possession of schedule II controlled substance and conspiracy to sell controlled substance. The last known address for Yates was 197 Austin Road in Statesville.
You can see the entire list of wanted suspects with their photos at www.iredellsheriff.com. If you have any information on any of the suspects on the list you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call any tips into the Iredell County Sheriff's Office at their Statesville location, 704-878-3180, or the Mooresville office, 704-664-7500.
58-year-old Joel Nicholas Baker of Freezer Locker Road in Hudson was arrested Wednesday (January 16) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver methamphetamine and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance. In addition, Baker is charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. He was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $25,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (January 17).
24-year-old Samantha Jean Taylor of Little Road in Newton was arrested Wednesday (January 16) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with two counts of the sale of methamphetamine, along with single counts of the sale of heroin, felony probation violation, and misdemeanor larceny. Taylor was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $121,000 bond. A District Court date is set for February 4, a Superior Court appearance is scheduled March 21.
Hickory City Council met in regular session Tuesday night (January 15). Minutes, second readings, and the consent agenda were all approved. City Council approved the proposed expansion of the Oakwood National Register Historic District. Taylor Dellinger, Senior Data Analyst for the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, presented traffic count data for the Hickory region.
Tom Kennedy, Land Protection Director for Foothills Conservancy, made a special presentation to City Council about the proposed new state park along the Henry Fork and Jacobs Fork Rivers. City Council then approved a resolution to allow the City Manager to execute a letter of intent and an option to purchase for the Foothills Conservancy to purchase City land in relation to the proposed new state park.
Mayor Hank Guess welcomed new Fire Chief Matt Hutchinson and also congratulated Hickory Police Department Captain Vidal Sipe for being appointed as the new Police Chief for the City of Newton.
The City’s Business Development Committee presented the Business. Well Crafted. Legacy Award to First Security Insurance in honor of its 100th Anniversary.
41-year-old Christopher Lee Prater of Johnson City, Tennessee was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after one o'clock yesterday afternoon (January 15) on a felony warrant as a fugitive awaiting extradition to another state. Prater is wanted in Virginia on unspecified charges. He was also arrested on misdemeanor warrants out of Lincoln County for D.W.I. and failure to appear in court for failure to comply with the terms of community service. The warrants were issued in June of last year.
Prater was taken into custody without incident at the Budget Inn Express on Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $13,266.75, secured. He was scheduled to appear in District Court today in Newton. A Lincoln County court date was set for February 5.
29-year-old Brandon Eugene Scronce of River Run Circle in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police early Tuesday morning (January 15) on one felony count each of breaking & entering and larceny after breaking & entering.
He was arrested when Police responded to HKY Customs on Startown Road where items had been stolen from several vehicles. Officers then located a suspicious person on the McDonald Parkway. That person, Brandon Eugene Scronce, had items with him that Officers believed were stolen from HKY Customs. The items were later confirmed as stolen. Scronce was then taken into custody without incident at an address on North College Avenue in Newton.
He was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court was scheduled today (January 16) in Newton.
23-year-old Mikal Jerome Gray of Cranford Drive in Conover was arrested today (January 16) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with break or enter a motor vehicle, possession of stolen goods, misdemeanor larceny, resisting a public officer, second degree trespassing, and obstructing justice. Gray was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $22,000 bond. District Court dates were scheduled for Thursday (January 17) and January 28.
18-year-old Megan Taylor Dula of Three Way Lane in Lenoir was arrested Tuesday (January 15) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. Bond for Dula was set at $10,000 secured. She posted bond shortly after 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Thursday (January 17).
38-year-old Colby Michael Cline of McKay Road in Newton was arrested by Newton Police Officers. He's charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by a felon, felony possession of controlled substance on prison or jail premises, possession of drug paraphernalia, and littering. Cline was jailed this morning (January 16) in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $40,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today.
43-year-old Melody Elaine Poarch Ray of Maple Street in Hudson was arrested Tuesday (January 15) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony possession of a stolen firearm and misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon. Ray was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (January 16).
34-year-old Jordan Daniel Newman of Slope Tier in Lenoir was arrested Tuesday (January 15) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and two counts of failure to appear. Newman was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $13,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Thursday (January 17).
A Forsyth County man received a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison following a guilty plea in a sex offense case. 37-year-old Jamie Walter Merritt of Tobaccoville, N.C., was sentenced to serve an active prison term of 20 to 25 years following his conviction for three counts of first-degree statutory sex offense during Catawba County Superior Court on Tuesday (January 15).
The Honorable Nathaniel J. Poovey, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, imposed the sentence for Merritt, who will serve the term in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections after pleading guilty to the offenses.
The defendant’s sentence will run concurrent with a 12-year prison term he is serving for a similar conviction in 2016 from Davie County, extending it by eight years. In addition, Merritt will have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life and is subject to lifetime satellite-based monitoring.
Investigation of the offenses began in 2015 when Merritt reported his activity to investigators with Claremont Police Department. The investigation showed that Merritt and a female co-defendant used Benadryl to drug a then-10-year-old female victim and touch her inappropriately. Merritt also admitted that he engaged in oral sex with the child. The events occurred on three occasions in September 2010.
The co-defendant’s case is pending.
A Burke County man will spend six to eight years in prison following a conviction in Burke County Superior Court on Tuesday (January 15) for trafficking methamphetamine.
40-year-old Andrew Thomas Watts of Morganton was given the active prison term by the Honorable Robert C. Ervin, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, following his guilty plea. The defendant will serve the sentence in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections and also must pay a mandatory fine of $50,000.
Officers with Morganton Department of Public Safety stopped a vehicle for displaying a fictitious tag on November 7, 2017, after previously being notified by the Burke County Narcotics Task Force that the defendant had just received a large quantity of methamphetamine.
As they approached the vehicle, officers saw drug paraphernalia and conducted a search of the vehicle and its occupants, locating methamphetamine in Watts’ possession. The drugs were sent to the N.C. State Crime Lab for testing and verification that the substance found was methamphetamine.
The case was investigated by the Morganton Department of Public Safety with assistance from the Burke County Narcotics Task Force. Lance Sigmon prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.
A vehicle crash occurred on Interstate 40 in Burke County this afternoon. According to published reports, the accident involved one vehicle and happened in the eastbound lanes near exit 100, which is Jamestown Road. The reports say at approximately 12:45 p.m. the vehicle ran off the road and landed underneath the bridge at exit 100. Both eastbound lanes remained open following the crash. No additional details were released.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s detectives say a man reported missing, 23-year-old Trevor Alan Drennen of Lincolnton, has been located. Deputies were notified today (January 15) by a family member that contact was made with Drennen and he is in good condition. Drennen was removed from NCIC as a missing person this morning.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office received the missing persons report regarding Mr. Drennen Monday (January 14). Officers were told that Mr. Drennen had not been heard from or seen since January 10, 2019. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said they'd like to thank everyone for their help in bringing this case to a successful close.
38-year-old Calvin Wayne Davis of Saint James Church Road in Newton was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before midnight last night (January 14) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance. He was arrested after Police found 1.1 grams of methamphetamine in a 2000 Acura in the parking lot at a pool hall on Highway 70 S.E. Davis was the owner of the vehicle.
The suspect was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $3,000 secured bond. Davis was scheduled to appear in District Court today in Newton.
38-year-old Misti Dawn Metcalf of Wayne Street in Claremont was arrested by Hickory Police at 9:40 last night (January 14) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and on misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
She was arrested when Police responded to a report of drug activity in the parking lot at a convenience store on 2nd Avenue N.W. During the incident, Officers found one gram of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Metcalf was taken into custody without incident at the store. Another person in the vehicle was issued a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Metcalf was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $5,000, secured. An appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
27-year-old Allen Davis Coffey of Abington Road in Lenoir was arrested Monday (January 14) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of larceny and possession of stolen property. Coffey was given a custody release, he has a Superior Court appearance March 4.