21-year-old Wesley Thomas Johnson of Taylorsville was arrested last Saturday (February 10) by Alexander County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of schedule VI controlled substance. Following the arrest, Johnson was placed in jail in Taylorsville under $15,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for March 5.
49-year-old Angela Darlene Clanton of Taylorsville was arrested last Saturday (February 10) by Alexander County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony possession of controlled substance on prison or jail premises. Clanton was placed in jail under $15,000 secured bond. Her next District Court date is March 5.
30-year-old April Elaine Cape of Stony Point was arrested last Tuesday (February 6) by Alexander County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony counts of trafficking methamphetamine, probation violation, breaking and entering, and larceny. Cape was placed in jail in Taylorsville under $95,000 secured bond. A court date is set for March 6.
46-year-old Jhay Leonard Roland of Merced, California, 25-year-old Donovan Tyrell Lortz of 4th Street S.W. in Hickory and 22-year-old Craig Anthony Ruff of Cranford Drive in Conover were all arrested by Hickory Police at about 4:20 Friday afternoon (February 9).
All three men were charged with felony possession of a firearm by a felon and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Roland and Lortz face felony counts of possession of cocaine and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance. Roland was also charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana. Lortz faces additional charges for possession of a stolen firearm and possession with intent to manufacture a schedule VI controlled substance. Ruff was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana up to half an ounce.
According to H.P.D.’s arrest reports, all three suspects were armed with a handgun at the time of their arrests. They were taken into custody without incident at a residence on 4th Street S.E. in Hickory. The three were jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Roland set at $200,000, secured. Lortz was given a $150,000 secured bond, and Ruff’s bond was set at $75,000, secured. They were scheduled to make first appearances in District Court today (February 12) in Newton.
35-year-old Mark Alan Ramsey of Cordia Circle in Newton was arrested today (February 12) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of schedule I controlled substance. Ramsey was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $25,000 bond. A District Court date is scheduled Tuesday (February 13).
56-year-old Gregory Monroe Austin passed away Saturday, (February 10) at Forsyth Medical Center.
He was an employee of R&L Motors and a longtime fixture at the Hickory Motor Speedway (H.M.S.). Mr. Austin was a winner at the speedway as recently as last year. He competed in the Renegade series and new Smash & Crash events at H.M.S. He was the father of Justin Austin, who has also posted multiple wins at that speedway.
Mr. Austin is survived by his wife (Marche Starnes Austin), his mother, four sons, a daughter, a brother and 11 grandchildren.
The family will receive friends at Mackie Funeral Home in Granite Falls Thursday night (February 15) from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
24-year-old Hasan Raliek Hopper of Samanthas Wells in Newton was arrested by Hickory Police early Sunday morning (February 11) on charges of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver cocaine; possession of drug paraphernalia and a felony probation violation. Hopper was also two counts of failure to appear on charges of felony possession of cocaine and a felony probation violation.
He was arrested after Hickory Police responded to Shooters Lounge on 127 South in Mountain View. Officers had received information that a subject with an outstanding warrant was at the business. The suspect, Hasan Hopper was located and taken into custody at 12:34 a.m. Sunday. During the arrest, Police found 3.5 grams of cocaine and drug paraphernalia on Hopper’s person.
The suspect was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $80,000, secured. Appearances in District & Superior Court were scheduled today, with another Superior Court date coming up on March 22, all in Newton.
The Newton Police Department is investigating the placement of a card reader on an ATM at a First Citizens Bank branch. On Sunday (February 11), officers from the Newton Police Department responded to First Citizens Bank located at 11 South College Avenue. in Newton in reference to a fraud. Upon arrival, officers met with a customer who stated that the ATM card reader did not look right when he started to use the ATM. The customer stated he pulled on the plastic housing around the card swipe area when it popped off into his hands. Officers examined the piece that came off and discovered it was a card reader used to capture credit and debit card information when the cards were swiped. The card reader looked identical to the original factory-installed card reader. The customer immediately reported the potential fraud to the bank’s 24 hours security services.
After reporting the fraud to the bank security services, officers received a call from bank security instructing them to check the ATM again for a small camera system. Officers performed a closer check of the ATM and discovered a fake cover had been placed over the area where cash was dispensed. When officers removed the fake cover from the cash dispenser, they discovered a small camera with a battery power supply. The fake cash dispenser cover had a small pin hole on the top which was directly under the key pad of the ATM. This allowed the camera to record the pin number used in correlation with the credit or debit card once the card was inserted in the machine.
Chief Don Brown said in a news release: “First Citizens Bank customers are asked to monitor their bank statements and credit reports for any unauthorized purchases or abnormal charges for the next several months. In general, citizens should inspect all equipment that use credit and debit card readers. Citizens should also monitor their surroundings while performing their transaction. Often times card readers and cameras are placed on ATMs and fuel pumps in an out-of-the-way location. Often scammers place readers on fuel pumps that are on a side that faces away from store employees. Citizens are encouraged to check for tampering by performing a quick visual inspection of the machine and wiggling the area where the card is inserted into the machine. On newer ATMs, check around the check insert area and also around the key pad to ensure no fake pieces have been attached to the machine. If you suspect something unusual about an ATM or other device contact your local law enforcement agency.”
Based on ATM security camera footage, investigators believe the reader was placed on the First Citizens ATM Sunday at 8:32 a.m. The suspect appears to be a black female driving a silver in color mini-van. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Newton Police at 828-465-7430.
Catawba County resident Scott Reilly announced his intentions to file today (February 12) as a Republican candidate for District Attorney in the 25th Prosecutorial District. The district currently includes all of Catawba, Burke and Caldwell counties. A reception was planned this evening at the Blue Moon Tavern in downtown Newton.
Mr. Reilly is an attorney, small business owner and former prosecutor. He started his legal career in 1989 as an assistant district attorney focused on prosecuting sex offenders. In 1994, Mr. Reilly opened a private law practice in Newton, concentrating on criminal cases. He has personally tried more than 250 jury trials.
Mr. Reilly earned his undergraduate degree from Lenoir-Rhyne University and completed his law degree at Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. He lives in Conover with his wife, Beth, and their children.
For more information, visit ElectScottReilly.com or follow the campaign on Facebook.
27-year-old Tyler Keith Killian of Connelly Springs Road in Lenoir was arrested Sunday (February 11) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Killian was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $15,000 secured bond, a District Court appearance was scheduled today (February 12).
Michelle Morgan has announced her candidacy for the Catawba County Board of Commissioners.
Ms. Morgan is a longtime resident of Catawba County and a Development Specialist for Women’s Resource Center. She volunteers her time as a court-appointed child advocate with the Catawba Valley Guardian Ad Litem Association and has served on several area boards, including the Western Piedmont Symphony, Hickory Community Theatre and the Guardian Ad Litem Association.
Ms. Morgan and her husband, Bill Morgan, live in Hickory. She has one daughter, Sydney, who was raised in Catawba County and now lives in New York City.
34-year-old Timothy Wayne Bolick of SE Hibriten Drive in Lenoir was arrested Saturday (February 10) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle and possession of methamphetamine. In addition, Bolick is charged with failure to appear on a count of felony discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling or moving vehicle. Bolick was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $150,000 secured bond. A District Court date was scheduled today (February 12) and a Superior Court appearance is set for March 5.
Filing for some of the races in the 2018 election begins at 12 noon today (February 12) and ends at 12 noon on February 28. Primary elections will be held on Tuesday, May 8, with the general election on Tuesday, November 6.
Candidates can file in various races around the Hickory Metro. For specifics on what seats are available in the 2018 election, you can contact your local Board of Elections or go to their website. There will be additional filing later in the year, In Catawba County, for example, candidates will file for some races in June.
35-year-old Patricia Gail Brookshire of U.S. 70 West in Morganton was arrested last Thursday (February 8) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance and failure to appear.
Last Thursday, investigators with the Burke County Narcotics Task Force (BCNTF) along with Burke County Sheriff's Office Deputies went to 1986 U.S. 70 West, Morganton, to follow up on an anonymous tip. While on the scene, officers located Patricia Gail Brookshire who was in possession of two glass smoking pipes, powder residue, digital scales, and a syringe containing methamphetamine.
Brookshire was taken into custody and transported to the Burke County Magistrates Office on an outstanding Order for Arrest out of Caldwell County, she was also charged with the drug offense. Brookshire received a $5,500 secured bond and was transported to Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility. A court appearance is scheduled Tuesday (February 13).
55-year-old Jeffrey Blain Bumgarner of NC Highway 10 West in Hickory was arrested Saturday (February 10) by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with felony death by vehicle, driving while impaired, failure to reduce speed, and hit and run, leave the scene with property damage.
Saturday at approximately 8:30 a.m., Hickory Police responded to the 3100 block of Hwy 70 SE in reference to a hit and run crash with injuries. Once on the scene, the driver of the vehicle, 58-year-old Charles Thomas Shook Jr. of Newton, was pronounced deceased by Catawba County EMS.
The suspect vehicle and driver were located nearby. The suspect was identified as Jeffrey Blain Bumgarner. Following his arrest, Bumgarner was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $30,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (February 12).
42-year-old Jarrett Lee Francis of Pleasant View Drive in Bostic was arrested Sunday (February 11) by Newton Police Officers. He's charged with possession of heroin. Francis was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $7,500 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (February 12).
Two suspects have been charged in connection to a reported attempted robbery during which one person was killed. The person killed was also allegedly involved in the robbery attempt. That individual’s name has been released, it is 17-year-old Shane Cauthen of Lincolnton.
As WHKY previously reported, at approximately 6:10 p.m. Wednesday (February 7) the Catawba County Sheriff's Office responded to a shooting call in the area of Startown Road and Blackburn Bridge Road. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office found a vehicle stopped on the side of the roadway along with a person who had been shot. The man was transported to CMC Lincoln.
Investigators learned that the shooting occurred at a residence in the 4000 Block of Fairview Drive near Maiden. After interviewing several individuals, investigators learned that there was an exchange of gunfire at the residence. Officers found out that the person shot was a 17-year-old resident of Lincolnton. Cauthen was later pronounced deceased at CMC Lincoln.
According to a news release issued Friday (February 9) by the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, after witness statements and evidence found at the scene investigators determined that the three suspects, Cauthen, 16-year-old Dylan Lee Gates and 22-year-old Cory Aaron Ingram, all of Lincolnton, attempted to rob a person that lived at the residence on Fairview Drive. During the robbery attempt there was an exchange of gunfire and Cauthen was shot.
On Friday the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office arrested Gates and Ingram and charged them both with attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon. They were detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $25,000 bond. They will have first appearances in District Court Monday (February 12) in Newton.
The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the sentencing of three suspects in connection to cases in the Hickory Metro Area. U.S. Attorney R. Andrew Murray announced Wednesday (February 7) that 34-year-old Joseph Howard Davis of Charlotte was sentenced to 260 months in prison on drug trafficking and firearms offenses. U.S. District Judge Richard L. Voorhees also ordered Davis to serve 10 years under court supervision upon completion of his prison term. In July 2017, a federal jury convicted Davis of charges of distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by convicted felon.
According to filed court documents and evidence introduced during Davis’ two-day trial, from in or about 2014 to October 2016, Davis participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in and around Catawba county and elsewhere in the Western District. Court records show that over the course of the investigation law enforcement seized from Davis approximately two ounces of 96% pure methamphetamine and two rifles. Davis has a previous felony conviction and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
In a separate case, Judge Voorhees also sentenced 44-year-old Shea David Byrd of Lenoir to 15 years in prison, and 50-year-old Patrick Neal Bates of Hickory to 10 years in prison on methamphetamine trafficking offenses. Byrd and Bates were each ordered to serve five years of supervised release after their prison terms are completed.
All defendants are currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole. These prosecutions stem from an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that has resulted in the conviction of more than 200 defendants on methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges. OCDETF is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking.
On Thursday (February 8) Caldwell County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a shooting at 2135 Remont Street in Sawmills. Upon arrival of Deputies, 31-year-old Daniel Lashone Wright was found deceased at the residence as a result of the shooting. According to a news release from the Sheriff's Office, 40-year-old Daniel Kenneth Calloway was identified as the shooter in this case. The shooting occurred at Calloway's residence.
Wright was also temporarily living at the residence. Calloway is cooperating with investigators in this case. This case is currently under review by investigators and members of the District Attorney’s Office. No criminal charges had been filed as of this afternoon (February 9).
The City of Lenoir has hired Jared Wright to serve as its next Public Works Director. Mr. Wright has 17 years of experience in the construction industry. He has managed public and private projects, and he previously worked as the Stormwater Administrator for the city.
Mr. Wright will assume his new position on February 19. He will spend two weeks working alongside current Public Works Director Charles Beck. Mr. Beck will retire on March 1.
As Public Works Director, Mr. Wright will manage more than 40 employees and six divisions. Those divisions handle trash collection, leaf & brush pickup, city street maintenance, storm drains, engineering for projects, maintenance of all city vehicles and maintenance at city facilities, cemeteries and downtown grounds.
Mr. Wright is a Caldwell County native. He grew up in Collettsville, graduated from West Caldwell High School and earned an Associates of Arts from CCC&TI. He is currently completing a B.A. from North Carolina State University.
Mr. Wright first came to work for the city in 2011. In 2015, he took a position as Construction Administrator with McGill Associates, P.A.
Mr. Wright and his wife, Courtney, have been married 13 years and have a 10-year-old daughter. Courtney is the current principal at Sawmills Elementary School. They are members of First Baptist Church in Lenoir.