The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce and others throughout the community are mourning the death of Terri Ferraguto, VP of Shareholder Relations. Ms. Ferraguto passed away peacefully Sunday evening after a battle with cancer.
Ms. Ferraguto was a member of the Chamber since October 2012. She is survived by her husband, Dick, and her son, Austin, as well as many friends and loved ones.
Arrangements had not been announced as of Monday afternoon.
42-year-old Carl Henry Duncan, Jr. of 17th Street S.E. in Hickory was arrested on a true bill of indictment by Hickory Police at about 7:40 last night (August 21) on two felony counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. The complainant listed on H.P.D.’s arrest report is the Catawba County Clerk of Court.
Duncan was taken into custody without incident at his residence. He was taken to the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond. He has since been released. An appearance in Superior Court was set for today in Newton.
42-year-old Robbie Dean Sronce of Bess Chapel Church Road in Cherryville was arrested Tuesday, August 9 by Lincolnton Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering, larceny, and possession of stolen goods.
According to a news release issued today (Monday, August 22) by Lincolnton Police, on August 9 at approximately 6 p.m., officers responded to a breaking and entering report on Louise Avenue. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the victim who told them that someone had broken into their residence and taken various work tools.
While at the residence investigating the breaking and entering, the officers along with the victim, observed a white male subject running toward a neighboring house carrying some of the stolen property. Officers located the man and all of the stolen goods at the neighboring house. The property was recovered and returned to the owner.
The suspect was identified as Robbie Dean Sronce and was taken into custody without incident. The value of the stolen property was in excess of $1,400. Sronce was detained in the Lincoln County Jail under $5,000 secured bond. No upcoming court dates are currently listed.
This morning (Monday, August 22), shortly after 11:00, Statesville Police Officers responded to a report of a shooting at a residence at the corner of 5th Street at Raleigh Ave. Upon arrival, officers discovered that a woman at the scene had sustained a gunshot wound. She was transported by EMS to a local hospital.
Statesville PD Criminal Investigators responded to the scene to conduct the investigation. While on the scene, it was reported that another victim, a male, had shown up at Iredell Memorial Hospital, also suffering from a gunshot wound. The conditions of the victims were not available.
The investigation into the shootings is continuing. Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact Statesville Police at 704-878-3406 or Iredell Crimestoppers at 704-662-1340. Callers can remain anonymous.
63-year-old Daniel Ussery of 6th Avenue S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 2:20 Friday afternoon (August 19) on one felony count each of breaking and entering and habitual larceny.
Ussery had previously been arrested in connection to an incident at the Belk store in Hickory’s Valley Hills Mall on February 28 of this year. The reporting party told Police they saw Ussery conceal a wallet and go beyond the last point of sale without paying.
According to Hickory Police, Ussery has four previous convictions for larceny. He was served a true bill of indictment Friday at a convenience store on North Center Street where he was taken into custody without incident. He was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $25,000 secured bond. An appearance in Superior Court was scheduled today (August 22) in Newton
28-year-old Jeremy Scott Murray of Carolina Mills Circle in Lincolnton was arrested Wednesday, August 10 by Lincolnton Police Officers. He's charged with felony assault by strangulation, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic assault on a female, and injury to personal property.
According to a news release issued today by the Lincolnton Police Department, on August 10, officers with the Lincolnton Police Department responded to a domestic disturbance to a residence on Georgetown Road. Upon arrival, officers found a female victim with noticeable injuries. The victim reported her boyfriend, who just fled the scene, assaulted her by choking her and by putting a knife to her throat. Additionally, the victim reported that the boyfriend had damaged several items of her clothing during the assault. The victim’s injuries were documented and the boyfriend was identified as Jeremy Scott Murray.
Officers found Murray a short time later. He was taken into custody without incident. Two knives were found on him and seized as a result of the arrest. Murray was initially jailed under no bond, during his first appearance in District Court, he was issued a secured bond of $2,000. His next appearance is scheduled for August 29 in District Court.
35-year-old Chad Daunta Bess of 34th Street Drive N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police early Saturday morning (August 20) on one felony count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
He was arrested when Officers who were attempting to serve a warrant at a residence on 34th Street Drive N.E. heard what they believed to be gunfire. After further investigation, Officers determined that the sound was a vehicle backfire; however, they did locate Bess in the vicinity, holding a handgun.
Bess, who had a previous felony drug conviction in Catawba County in 1998, was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $25,000 secured bond. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today on the firearms charge and a number of felony drug charges. He also has a September 19 court date on additional firearms and drug charges.
28-year-old Robert Joshua Copeland of 35th Avenue N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about three o’clock Friday afternoon (August 19) on one felony count each of forgery of bank notes and uttering a forged instrument, plus a misdemeanor probation violation and misdemeanor failure to appear on a drug paraphernalia charge. He was also charged by the Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Office on a surrender by surety for possession of stolen goods, driving while license revoked not impaired, possession or display of an altered, fictitious or revoked driver’s license and possession of heroin.
He was arrested in connection to an incident on August 6. The general manager at Cookout Burgers on North Center Street in Hickory reported that someone passed a counterfeit $100 bill at the restaurant. The manager was able to give a vehicle description, which led to the identification of Robert Joshua Copeland as the suspect. Warrants for his arrest were issued on the same date.
Copeland was taken into custody at his residence and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $58,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for today (August 22) in Newton. Additional court dates are coming up on September 8, September 21 and October 28.
28-year-old Samuel Leonard Benge was arrested Sunday (August 21) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with felony forced first-degree burglary. Benge was placed in jail in Morganton under $75,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in court today (Monday, August 22).
26-year-old Lauren Nicole Sherrill and 23-year-old Lamar James Breedlove, both of the same 10th Street SW Hickory address, were both arrested Friday (August 19) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. Sherrill is charged with breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Breedlove is charged with auto larceny and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Both suspects were placed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $100,000 secured bond, they were both scheduled to appear in District Court in Lenoir today (Monday, August 22).
One suspect has been arrested in connection to the discovery of a pair of meth labs, a second suspect is being sought. 50-year-old Joseph Robert Creech of Swanson Road in Crouse was arrested Saturday (August 20) by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with one felony count of manufacturing methamphetamine and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. the charges stem from an August 14 investigation near the 2400 block of Swanson Road where deputies found multiple "one pot" meth labs.
During the investigation, patrol deputies responded to the residence after receiving a call about someone possibly cooking meth. On arrival, deputies recognized items consistent with a "one pot" meth lab and called for Narcotics Detectives to respond.
Once narcotics detectives confirmed it was in fact a meth lab, the SBI was called to assist with clean up. While on the scene narcotics detectives were told about a second meth lab across the road at a neighbor's residence. After a search of that property, detectives found a second "one pot" meth lab.
According to detectives, this investigation makes the third time in less than 12 months where a meth lab or meth lab precursors have been located on or near these properties. In each previous case detectives have made an arrest. Both subjects charged in this case had left the scene prior to officers arriving.
Creech was placed in jail under $25,000 secured bond. His first court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, August 22) in Lincoln County District Court.
Detectives are still looking for a second subject in the case. 39-year-old James Norman Merriam of Swanson Road in Crouse is wanted for Manufacturing Methamphetamine and Felony Possession of Heroin.
Citizens are urged to call Lincoln County Communication Center at 704-735-8202 or Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909 if they have any information as to Merriam’s whereabouts.
The Burke County Sheriff's Office is continuing to seek information on suspects on the agency's Most Wanted List.
36-year-old John Yang is being sought by the Burke County Sheriff's Office. He's wanted on charges of felony failure to appear on a count of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver controlled substance and failure to appear for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Yang's last known address was 2871 Cougar Valley in Morganton. He has been wanted since December 11 of last year.
40-year-old Tony Lynn Bollinger is wanted for non-payment of child support. Bollinger's last known address was 5597 Manley Clark Road in Morganton. He's been wanted since September 8, 2014.
You can see the entire Most Wanted List at the Burke County Sheriff's Office website, www.burkesheriff.org. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of any of the suspects on the list you can call 828-438-5500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also submit an anonymous tip to Morganton-Burke Crime Stoppers at 828-437-3333.
30-year-old Joshua Dane Keener of US Highway 70 East in Hickory was arrested Friday (August 19) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with three counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. Keener was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $75,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance was scheduled for today (Monday, August 22).
After recent flooding devastated parts of Louisiana, many people are eager to pitch in and help those affected. Unfortunately, past catastrophes like tsunamis in Japan, Hurricane Katrina, along with other events have shown us that scammers are out to take advantage by tricking you into giving money, or even, as we reported last Friday (August 19), by selling you a flood-damaged car.
Attorney General Roy Cooper encourages North Carolinians to give generously to relief efforts for Louisiana flood victims, but be wary of charity scams. If you plan to donate, remember:
Don’t respond to out-of-the-blue emails, text messages or social media posts that ask you to give. Instead, contact the charity directly through their website or valid phone number.
Avoid pushy telemarketers who refuse to answer your questions or pressure you to give them a credit card number. Some telemarketers keep as much as 90 percent of the money they raise for charity for themselves. Your money will go further if you give to the organization directly.
Be cautious when giving through crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter. Although many of these fundraising appeals are legitimate, crowdfunding sites don’t screen users for authenticity. Know who and what you’re really donating to before you give.
Don’t give cash, which can be lost or stolen. For security and tax record purposes, it’s best to pay by credit card. If you write a check, make it out to the charity, not to a fundraiser.
Protect your personal information. Never give your credit card or bank account number to someone you don’t know who contacts you, and don’t share personal financial information by email or text message.
Check out charities before you give. For detailed financial information about a charity, contact the NC Secretary of State’s office at (888) 830-4989 or secretary.state.nc.us/csl, or visit guidestar.org.
If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at ncdoj.gov.
The Stolen dog and car from Dollar General in Bethlehem last Wednesday (August 17) have been recovered. An updated from the Alexander County Sheriff's Office says that the dog is Okay and has been returned to the owner. A suspect is in custody and the investigation is continuing. The Sheriff's Office planned to release more information today (Monday, August 22).
The Hickory Police Department is currently attempting to locate Tiffany Elizabeth Mckee and Seiara Nichole Matthews, who were reported as runaways by their families last Tuesday (August 16).
Mckee was last confirmed being seen last Monday (August 15), at approximately 11 p.m. at her residence in the 900 Block of Highway 70 SW in Hickory. Matthews was last confirmed being seen last Monday, at approximately 10 p.m. at her residence in the 700 Block of 5th Avenue SW in Hickory.
Tiffany Elizabeth Mckee is a 16-year-old white female with long dark hair with blue tips. She is 5’4” and weighs approximately 110 pounds. Mckee was last seen wearing black shorts with a white stripe and a camouflage shirt. She is also believed to have been wearing a silver necklace with a Batman emblem on it.
Seiara Nichole Matthews is a 16-year-old black female with short black hair. She is 5’5” and weighs approximately 145 pounds.
Mckee and Matthews are friends and are believed to be together. Contact the Hickory Police Department at (828) 328-5551 with any information relating to Tiffany Elizabeth Mckee or Seiara Nichole Matthews.
District Attorney David Learner, after reviewing multiple video accounts of the officer-involved shooting that occurred at Wal Mart in Lenoir on Tuesday, Aug. 16, has determined that the officers acted properly and the use of deadly force was justified.
DA Learner met Friday with Lenoir Police Chief Scott Brown, Master Patrol Officer Brandon Thomas and Sgt. Brett Ingram, confirming to the officers and the department that the shooting of 32-year-old Carl Marcus Nivens was justified.
The District Attorney reviewed video surveillance from Wal Mart, body camera video from the officers, preliminary autopsy photos and preliminary toxicology screens that indicated the presence of amphetamines and methamphetamine in the deceased subject. He also reviewed findings of the lead investigator from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation in making his determination that the officers acted appropriately.
“The officers’ decisions to use deadly force were fully justified and undoubtedly avoided injury to the officers and innocent bystanders,” Learner said. “Nivens was actively shooting at Sgt. Ingram who returned fire, killing the suspect.”
The officers initially were placed on administrative leave but returned to active duty effective last Friday (August 19).
The Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, in cooperation with county and local governments, announced today (Friday, August 19) that two local businesses have been awarded with North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division grants in order to expand or initiate their operations.
Lenoir pharmaceutical manufacturer Exela Pharma Sciences has received a $500,000 grant to facilitate a planned $2.55 million investment at the former Expo building across from the company’s headquarters along U.S. 321. Meanwhile, 80 Acres Investments, a new vertical farming company in Granite Falls, has received a $125,000 grant to make improvements to the former Hollin Gate building. The grants will assist in the creation of 50 new, full-time jobs.
A manufacturer and developer of pharmaceutical products, Exela Pharma Sciences plans to renovate and lease the 86,427-square-foot building that is owned by Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation.
The renovation project will allow Exela to expand its manufacturing lines to produce sterile injectable syringes and infusion bags for hospital use. The site will also be utilized for quality assurance laboratories, packaging, and labeling.
A company already in operation in Ohio, Arkansas, and Alabama, 80 Acres Investments is involved in the engineering and manufacturing of equipment that is utilized in vertical farming operations that are installed into refurbished stainless steel containers.
The company has purchased a 5,500-square-foot building at York View Court, along with adjacent acreage, and the renovations will allow the company to meet the growing demand for vertical farming processes that are proving to be increasingly popular with national food distribution companies and retailers. Vertical farming utilizes LED lighting, enhanced irrigation techniques, and climate-controlled functions to provide a year-round growing cycle that both increases product yield while reducing the overall carbon footprint.
The renovation project is expected to be complete in the fall of 2017. The company plans to hire 10 new, full-time employees.
18-year-old Trevin Ali Brown of 28th Street N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police just before eight o’clock last night (August 18) on one felony count of robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons. He was also served outstanding warrants from June of this year for felony first-degree burglary, felony second-degree kidnapping and misdemeanor simple assault & battery, plus another warrant from December 2015 for felony possession of cocaine.
The robbery charge stems from an incident on July 30. An 18-year-old male victim reported that he was contacted by the suspect through Snapchat regarding a gun that was for sale. The two met at Hickory East Apartments where the suspect allegedly pointed the gun at the victim and fled with both the money and the gun. The suspect and the victim are acquainted.
The outstanding warrants from June come in connection to an incident at the Civitan Court Apartment complex on 17th Avenue N.E. in Hickory. On June 14, two victims heard a knock at the door. A 19-year-old female victim came downstairs and was briefly assaulted. The 23-year-old male victim also came downstairs where he was assaulted and dragged away from the residence. Neither victim was transported to the hospital.
Brown is the third person arrested in connection to that case. 20-year-old Michael Emmanuel Tucker, Jr. of Hickory was arrested on July 10 and 19-year-old Cedric Devonta Ellis of Hickory was arrested on July 29.
Brown was taken into custody without incident yesterday at a residence on 5th Avenue S.W. in Hickory. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $95,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court was set for today in Newton.
A black 2009 Nissan Cube was stolen from the parking lot at the Dollar General store off of Highway 127 in Bethlehem. The victim’s dog, Gabby, was in the vehicle and was also stolen. The dog is a white Shih Tzu.
The incident unfolded at about 6:20 p.m. Wednesday (August 17) as the victim parked in front of the store with the engine running and the air conditioning on as the dog was left in the vehicle. Two white males entered the store and quickly exited. They got into the parked Nissan and drove away with the dog still inside.
The suspects were both described as white males with slim builds in their mid-20s.
The Alexander Co. Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Anyone with information regarding the incident or the whereabouts of the dog or the vehicle should call the Sheriff’s Office at 828-632-1111 or call Crime Stoppers at 828-632-8555.