32-year-old Shawncody Lee Hanton of Bethel Road and 32-year-old Richard James Ussery of Oakshire Circle, both from Charlotte, were arrested by Hickory Police at 1:30 a.m. today (November 29). They're each charged with three felony counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon. Ussery was also charged with failure to appear on misdemeanor counts of larceny and resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer. In addition, he was charged with a misdemeanor out-of-county probation violation.
Both suspects were taken into custody early this morning on Highway 321 S.W. in Gastonia. They were locked up in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility. Hanton's bond was set at $200,000, secured, while Ussery was given a $311,000 secured bond. Both suspects were scheduled to make first appearances in District Court today. Ussery has additional court dates on December 5, 14 & 16.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says consumers who plan to shop online over the holidays should take steps to protect their money and personal information.
With more consumers than ever planning to shop online this holiday season, consumers need to be vigilant about problems like fly-by-night websites and phony mobile shopping apps.
In a news release issued by the North Carolina Department of Justice, the Attorney General shared the following tips to help online shoppers avoid frauds and misleading offers:
Shop through sites you know and trust. If you’re not sure about an online shopping site, look into it through the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and your local Better Business Bureau. You can also check online reviews to spot potential problems. Beware of lookalike websites that may pop up online or be included as links in phishing emails.
Look out for fake shopping apps. Many retailers have their own shopping apps, but scammers have also created phony lookalike apps to get access to consumers’ devices. Before you download a shopping app, check reviews, look for typos, and if possible, use a download link available on the retailer’s official website.
Compare prices on your own. If an online shopping site claims to beat competitors’ prices, don’t take their word for it. Compare prices online and at brick-and-mortar stores to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Also, look out for phony products or knock-offs that may be of poorer quality.
Read return policies carefully. Merchants aren’t required by law to accept returns. Some online retailers won’t let you return items in their brick-and-mortar locations, and others charge restocking fees or refuse to process returns on items that have already been opened. Online retailers may also require you to pay shipping fees to return or exchange an item.
Know how to contact the company directly. Get the company’s street address and telephone number and verify them before you order. Be especially careful when shopping overseas sites, since no U.S. or state agency has legal authority over business deals with companies in other countries.
Stick to secure websites. Before you enter any payment information into a website, look for a lock icon and a web address that starts with “https.”
Consider paying by credit card. If your order doesn’t arrive or isn’t what you expected, you can dispute it with your credit card company. If your credit card number gets stolen, federal law limits your liability to $50. Remember that cards with EMV chip technology aren’t more secure when it comes to online shopping.
Steer clear of pop ups. Beware of messages that appear at the end of an online purchase offering discounts on your next purchase. They could trick you into signing up for travel memberships or other services you don’t want with fees that show up later on your credit card or bank statement.
Know when your order is scheduled to arrive. Under the federal Mail or Telephone Order Rule, companies are required to ship your online or catalog order within the time stated. If you aren’t given a delivery date, the company has 30 days once your order is received. If the item doesn’t ship on time, the seller must let you know and allow you to cancel for a full refund.
Require signature for any deliveries. Thieves have been known to follow delivery trucks into neighborhoods and steal packages left on doorsteps. Opt to have your package held at the nearest service location if you expect it to be delivered when you aren’t at home.
Keep records of all online orders. Save information like the product description, price, online receipt, order number and customer service number. Archive any confirmation emails from the company.
Go over your credit card statements. Our office has received complaints from consumers about unauthorized charges billed to their account after they shop online. If you see a charge you didn’t approve, contact your credit card company immediately, request a refund, and ask for a new card.
Keep your identity safe. Guard your Social Security, driver’s license and bank account numbers when you shop online. Only share financial information on secure sites—never by email or through social media. Avoid unsolicited messages that ask for your personal information.
Act immediately if your information is compromised. If you’re notified that your information has been exposed due to a data breach, follow our recommended steps to avoid identity theft.
To check out a company or file a consumer complaint, call the Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina. Consumers can also file complaints online and get more holiday shopping tips at ncdoj.gov.
An officer involved shooting in Catawba County that resulted in a fatality is under investigation.
Monday (November 28) at approximately 4:15 p.m., Catawba County Narcotics Investigators were conducting an investigation at the 1100 Block of 15th Street NE in Hickory. Officers came into contact with a person during the investigation and that individual was shot by investigators during the interaction. No other details have been provided regarding the circumstances surrounding the shooting. The man who was shot was transported to Frye Regional Medical Center where he passed away.
The Catawba County Sheriff's Office requested that the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations conduct an investigation into the incident. The man who was shot has not been identified, that information would not be released until a positive ID is confirmed with the medical examiner and the man's family is notified.
The SBI is seeking information from any witnesses who have not come forward. If you have information call the SBI at 828-294-2226.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Detectives are asking for public’s help in identifying two black females who stole money from check-out registers at the Walmart store at 7131 N.C. Highway 73 in Denver.
Investigating Officer Detective Greg Hager was told by store security that two females came into the store Saturday (November 26) at about 10:30 p.m. and were hanging around the front of the store. They then pretended to check out several clothing items, but were using that as cover as they broke into registers eight and nine.
The suspects walked out of the store, got into a dark-colored, four-door car and left the parking lot. The two women got away with more than $1,700. They may have also been involved in other thefts in the surrounding area.
Anyone with information should contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Lincolnton/Lincoln County Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. A Crime Stoppers tip leading to an arrest could result in a reward of up to $1,000.
30-year-old Eric Todd Driggers of Gold Creek Bay and 22-year-old Kelly Ann Davis of 24th Street N.E., both from Hickory, were arrested by Hickory Police late Thanksgiving night (November 24). Driggers was charged with one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Davis was arrested on outstanding warrants for two counts of shoplifting and one count of failure to appear.
They were arrested after Police responded to the parking lot at McDonald’s on Highway 321 N.W. in Hickory. In the vehicle were a male driver and Kelly Davis, who was a rear passenger. As Officers spoke to the two occupants, Eric Driggers approached the vehicle.
Police found the outstanding warrants for Davis’ arrest. They also saw a glass pipe in the passenger side door, where Driggers had been seated. A subsequent search turned up a syringe containing 0.1 grams of methamphetamine under the front passenger seat.
Driggers and Davis were taken into the custody. The driver was not charged. Both subjects were placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for Driggers set at $4,000, secured, while Davis was given a $10,000 secured bond. Driggers was due in court today (November 28). Davis has an appearance scheduled for January 12.
48-year-old Charles Raymond Woods of Valerie Drive in Lincolnton has been arrested by Lincolnton Police on charges of felony larceny and felony obtaining property by false pretense.
A press release issued today (November 28) states that Woods’ arrest stems from a case in which a piece of jewelry was taken from an elderly victim. Lincolnton Police Detective Tony Potts investigated and found that Woods had pawned the jewelry at a local pawnshop.
Woods was placed in the Lincoln County Jail under a $10,000 secured bond. He made a first appearance in court on November 21 with his next appearance in Lincoln County District Court coming up on December 13.
The Granite Falls Rotary Club will sponsor the town’s annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 3 at 12 noon in downtown Granite Falls. The theme for this year’s parade is “Magical Musical Christmas”.
The entry fee is $20 per float or vehicle and $10 per horse for early registration, with an extra $5 on the day of the parade. Early registrations will be accepted through December 1 at the following locations: Granite Falls Police Department on Falls Avenue; Southeast Retirement Planners at PNC on North Main Street; Dr. James Boggs, DDS on Hickory Boulevard; and Hamby & Hamby PA on North Main Street.
All entries must have a holiday decoration or theme. The parade line-up will begin at 10 a.m. in the First Baptist Church parking lot.
For more information, contact Jeff Prince at 828-499-0831 or 828-396-3326.
31-year-old Carlos Deon Deal of Leclare Street In Hudson was arrested by Lenoir Police Saturday (November 26) on felony counts of armed robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault by strangulation. He also faces one felony count of possession of methamphetamine, plus one misdemeanor count of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer.
Following his arrest, Deal was placed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $150,000, secured. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for today (November 28) in Lenoir. He’ll also appear on the resisting charge tomorrow.
44-year-old James Robert Tewell of Starwood Drive in Mooresville was arrested Saturday (November 26) by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers on a charge of felony statutory rape of a person 15 years of age or younger.
He was arrested after Deputies received a report from a child stating that she had been sexually assaulted by a family member, James Robert Tewell in southern Iredell County. The assaults occurred on numerous occasions between 2009 and 2016. After conducting multiple interviews, Detective Justin Carroll charged Tewell with statutory rape.
He is currently being held in the Iredell Co. Detention Center under a $100,000 bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for today (November 28).
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.
26-year-old Lucero Ivette Juanico Martinez was arrested by Hickory Police at about 10:35 last Wednesday on one felony count of larceny by servants or other employees.
Events leading to her arrest began when management at Kids Stuff of Hickory on Highway 70 S.E. reported that an employee, Lucero Martinez, allegedly stole money from the store on November 21. Martinez reportedly completed a cash transaction with a customer and placed the money under the keyboard at the register. She came back a short time later, put the money in her pocket and left the store.
A warrant for her arrest was issued the following day. The next day, the suspect turned herself in at H.P.D. headquarters where she was taken into custody without incident. She was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for today (November 28) in Newton.
49-year-old Patrick Neal Bates of 23rd Avenue N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 9:45 Friday morning (November 25) on one felony count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
He was arrested after Police responded to an unrelated call at Bates’ residence. In the driveway, they spotted a Ford F-350 truck that had been reported stolen from South Carolina.
Bates was taken into custody without incident. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $18,500, secured. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today (November 28) in Newton.
48-year-old Franklin Dale Hare of 36th Street N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police Saturday night (November 26) on one felony count of possession of methamphetamine. He was also served true bills of indictment for maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver meth.
He was arrested after Police saw a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot at the Sunhouse convenience store at 1608 2nd Avenue N.W. As the vehicle, a 1991 Toyota Camry, pulled out of the parking lot, Officers identified the driver as Franklin Dale Hare and knew that there were outstanding warrants for his arrest.
The Toyota pulled over in the parking lot at a Sunoco station on Highway 321 N.W. According to a Police spokesperson, Officers found three bags on Hare’s person. The bags contained 7.3 grams of methamphetamine. Another search at H.P.D. headquarters turned up another bag containing 0.3 grams of meth.
The outstanding warrants stem from a case dating back to August of this year. Hickory Police at that time charged Hare with possessing two bags containing a total of 7.9 grams of meth.
Following his arrest, Hare was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $25,300, secured. Appearances in District Court and Superior Court were scheduled today (November 28) in Newton.
54-year-old Tammy Turner McCreary was arrested by Burke Co. Sheriff’s Officers yesterday (November 27) on a charge of financial identity fraud. Following her arrest, McCreary was jailed in Morganton under a $20,000 secured bond. A pre-trial hearing was set for today in Morganton.
The Chestnut Knob Fire in South Mountain State Park is now estimated at 6,435 acres. As of late last night (November 27), the fire, about ten miles south of Morganton, was 80% contained. The fire began on November 6.
144 personnel are currently battling the fire. Authorities say the fire currently consists of minimal fire behavior with smoldering. Firefighters plan to continue mop up operations while holding and improving the line in all divisions. They will continue with structure protection and triage.
Moderate winds have the potential to cause re-burn and increase fire activity. Rain in the forecast tomorrow and Wednesday may provide some relief.
The Caldwell County Board of Education recently recognized six schools for receiving honors awarded by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The schools were recognized for their success through Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS), a school-wide program that demonstrates the ability to work together productively, to use school data effectively and to develop a support system for student behaviors.
Baton Elementary, Davenport A+ School, Gamewell Elementary, Gamewell Middle, Hudson Middle and Sawmills Elementary were presented with banners and certificates of recognition from both the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and the Caldwell County Board of Education.
Keith Hindman, Middle School Director, is the district-wide coordinator for PBIS.
· Sawmills Elementary School began implementation of PBIS last school year and received statewide recognition as a Green Ribbon School for its successful launch of PBIS.
· Hudson Middle School began implementation of PBIS in 2014-2015 and received recognition as a Green Ribbon School.
· Baton Elementary School has earned the statewide designation as a Behavior Support Model School for three consecutive years of continuous success.
The highest level of school recognition in PBIS is a N.C. Exemplar School. Three schools reached that level of recognition: Davenport A+ School, Gamewell Elementary School and Gamewell Middle School, which started the initiative in Caldwell County in 2007 and continues to be a model of excellence for PBIS throughout the state.
The Catawba Valley Interfaith Council (CVIC) will hold its Human Rights Day Celebration on Saturday, December 10 at 4 p.m. The event will take place at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 726 1st Avenue N.W. in Hickory. Human Rights Day commemorates the day in 1948 on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights following World War II.
The guest speaker will be Renée Fink. Ms. Fink was sent into hiding from the Nazis at the age of four.
The event will be followed by a reception. The public will have the chance to meet and talk with Ms. Fink and with members of the Catawba Valley Interfaith Council.
For more information, contact the Rev. Don Flick, CVIC President, at 828-495-8400 or email@example.com or contact William Keener, CVIC Media Representative, at 828-705-1829 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
49-year-old Patrick Neal Bates of 23rd Avenue N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police today (November 25) on one felony count of possession of a stolen motor vehicle. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under an $18,500 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for Monday (November 28) in Newton.
27-year-old Jeffrey Scott Ohmer of Putnam Street in Morganton was arrested by Lenoir Police Wednesday (November 23) on one felony count of possession with intent to sell or deliver methamphetamine. Following his arrest, Ohmer was taken to the Caldwell Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $10,000, secured. He will appear in Superior Court on January 9 in Lenoir.
31-year-old Charles Everett Bishop of Jeeter Shell Avenue in Connelly Springs was arrested Wednesday (November 23) by Burke Co. Sheriff’s Officers on a charge of use of a social media website by a sex offender. Bishop is on the sex offender registry as the result of a March 2008 conviction in Caldwell County for indecent liberties with a minor. At the time of the offense, Bishop was 21 and his victim was 12.
Following his arrest, Bishop was locked up in Morganton under a $30,000 secured bond. He’ll appear in District Court on Monday (November 28) in Morganton.
31-year-old Delwyn Jamar Smith of Statesville Boulevard in Salisbury was arrested yesterday (November 24) on charges from Lenoir Police and from the Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with assault on a female, felony possession of a controlled substance on penal institution property and felony possession of cocaine.
Following his arrest, Smith was placed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center without bond on the assault charge. Bond on the drug charges was set at $15,000, secured. He will appear in District Court on the drug charges Monday (November 28) with another court date on the assault charge set for January 24, both in Lenoir.