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Polk sheriff’s office arrests four in Green Creek break-ins

Published 10:00pm Thursday, August 21, 2014


by Leah Justice

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested four suspects last week in connection with recent breaking and entering of several properties in Green Creek.

Billy Lawrence Carr of Inman, S.C. was arrested and charged with two counts of felony possession of stolen goods, one count of felony larceny and one misdemeanor larceny, according to sheriff reports.
John Wayne Sparks of Mooresboro, N.C. was arrested and charged with one count of felony larceny and one count of possession of stolen goods, according to sheriff reports.
Michael Cristen Barnes, of Lake Lure, N.C. was arrested and charged with two counts of felony aid and abet in a larceny and two counts of possession of stolen goods, according to sheriff reports.
William Mark Blackwell of Rutherfordton, N.C. was arrested and charged with one count of felony aid and abet in a larceny and one count of possession of stolen goods, according to sheriff reports.
The sheriff’s office began an investigation after receiving several reports of stolen property from the Green Creek community, including farm items and wiring from vacant residences. The investigation led detectives to local scrap yards, where some of the items were recovered as well as the identification of suspects.

Polk sheriff arrests Columbus man for Silver Creek Community breaking and entering

Published 9:50pm Tuesday, August 12, 2014


By Leah Justice
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Columbus man last week after officers discovered drugs during a license checkpoint and later discovered the suspect was involved in a breaking and entering.

Erik Charping, 18, of Fox Mountain Road, Columbus was arrested and charged with two counts of felony trafficking opium, misdemeanor simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, felony breaking and entering, three counts of felony larceny and damage to personal property, according to sheriff reports.
During the license checkpoint, a pickup truck came through and deputies said they noticed suspicious activity amongst the occupants. After speaking with the driver and passenger of the truck, it was discovered the passenger was in possession of a variety of prescription drugs, according to reports.
Charping had four types of controlled substances in his possession, including Clonazepam, Oxycodone, Hydrocodon-Acetaminoph and Promethazine, all in original bottles prescribed to different individuals, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies questioned Charping as to how he obtained the prescription medication and according to reports, Charping said he had been given permission to go into the residence listed on the prescription bottles and retrieve them for safekeeping.
Sheriff’s officers went to the residence, located in the Silver Creek Community (formerly known as Land O’ Lakes), and discovered numerous windows were broken in the home. Detectives notified the homeowner to let her known her home had been broken into and she met officers at her home.
Damage to the property and items stolen from the property is estimated at more than $10,000, according to reports.
Detectives are still investigating to try and locate some of the other items that were stolen from the home.
Charping was released from custody on a $72,500 bond, according to sheriff reports.
Charping’s next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 27.

Polk stops over 2k pills from reaching college campus WCU student out on $100k bond

Published 10:02pm Thursday, July 3, 2014


Western Carolina University will be short a large delivery of narcotics this weekend after the Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a student transporting more than 2,500 dosage units, including Ecstasy, LSD, marijuana, amphetamine salts and Adderall, according to sheriff reports.
On Tuesday, July 1, officers stopped a vehicle travelling from South Carolina along I-26 for not having a tag. Investigators say the suspect acted nervous so a K-9 officer was called to the scene. The suspect gave consent to search the vehicle, investigators said, and officers found approximately 2,485 dosages of MDMA (Ecstasy), 102 dosages of LSD/acid, marijuana wax, marijuana, amphetamine salt tablets and 15 Adderall pills.
Alexander Samson, 23, of Mooresville, was arrested and charged with felony trafficking in MDA/MDMA, felony trafficking in LSD, felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver MDA/MDMA, felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver schedule VI (marijuana) controlled substance, felony maintaining a vehicle/dwelling/place for a controlled substance, felony possession with intent to sell and deliver schedule I (LSD) controlled substance, two counts of simple possession of schedule II (amphetamine salts) controlled substance, unsealed wine/liquor in passenger area and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to sheriff reports.
Investigators said Samson was on his way to Western Carolina University where he is a student. The sheriff’s office contacted the university to alert officials of the arrest.
Samson is currently out of jail on a $100,000 secured bond.

Polk arrests woman for stealing $100k of Civil War antiques

Published 7:03am Wednesday, July 2, 2014


The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Columbus woman last week accused of breaking into a home and stealing more than $100,000 worth of Civil War era antiques, many of which were hand crafted in Charleston during the Civil War.
Willow Miller, 36, of 160 Shuford Rd., Columbus was arrested and charged with 16 counts of felony breaking and entering, 16 counts of felony larceny and 16 counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, according to sheriff reports.
Investigators say Miller broke into the victim’s home, which was an individual she knew, on at least 16 different occasions. Each time she entered the residence, Miller took family heirlooms, according to reports.
The items stolen included different types of sterling silver dinnerware that had been handed down several generations of the family. The silver has an appraised value of more than $100,000, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators so far have located and recovered some of the items, but approximately $90,000 worth is still unrecovered.
The investigation into the case was unusual because a report was not filed.
Investigators discovered that Miller had been taking the antique silver to area businesses in exchange for cash, began monitoring her transactions and gathered additional information about her.
Investigators confronted Miller and it was confirmed she had illegally taken the items from the victim and was taking them to area gold exchange businesses.
“The conclusion was a result of proactive policing,” said Lt. BJ Bayne. “There was never a report filed.”
Bayne said she and other investigators knew something was not right about the items being sold and started their own investigation to determine where Miller was getting the items from and from whom.
Miller is currently being held for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at the Transylvania County Detention Facility under a $250,000 secured bond. Miller appeared in court on June 30.

Polk sheriff’s office makes chop shop ring arrest

Published 10:02pm Sunday, June 29, 2014


by Leah Justice
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office along with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicle License and Theft Bureau broke up a chop shop ring in Green Creek last week.
Tyler Lee Cates, 23, of 710 Johnson Rd., Rutherfordton was arrested and charged with felony permit place used chop shop, felony altering vehicle identification numbers, felony possession of stolen motor vehicle, felony possession with intent to sell/deliver marijuana, felony maintaining a vehicle/dwelling/place for a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, according to sheriff reports.
Investigators at the sheriff’s office received information that a vehicle was being dismantled and sold for scrap metal. Investigators arrived at the suspected location and found a vehicle with no doors and a missing roof and obtained a search warrant, according to sheriff reports. State license and theft agents were contacted to assist with the investigation.
After conducting a search warrant, investigators determined there was one vehicle stolen out of Chesnee, S.C. and another vehicle in the process of being dismantled. According to the sheriff’s office investigators also discovered a stolen firearm, marijuana and drug paraphernalia at the residence.
Cates is out of custody under a $21,000 bond with his next court date scheduled for July 9. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible.

Sheriff Hill turned the Sheriff's Office purple in honor of the annual Polk County Relay for Life to honor those affected by cancer.

Tryon Mayor Jim Wright presents a special proclamation to Sheriff Donald Hill in appreciation of his work with the Sheriff's Fund for the Needy, the Polk County Toy Run, and the annual Seasonal Assistance Grant the PCSO utilizes in helping citizens in need.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is utilizing Nixle, a community information service that allows the sheriff to alert the public with needed announcements.


The sheriff’s office began using Nixle on Feb. 1 and invites area residents to sign up for the service, which can be sent through cell phone text messages and/or emails.


The service and sign-up is free.


The information that can be sent ranges from warnings and alerts, weather advisories, traffic warnings, wanted individuals, criminal investigations requesting public assistance as well as any other relevant safety and community information.


“With the evolution of technology, this newly implemented system will allow us here at the sheriff’s office to communicate and keep the citizens of Polk County more current and up-to-date on events, criminal activities and other warnings and advisories that will keep citizens informed and aware,” said Det/Sgt. Randall R. Hodge.


Hodge said the service will be helpful in many areas for the sheriff’s office, particularly when someone may go missing or investigators are searching for a wanted person. He said the community can help if the sheriff’s office can send out a release and a photograph and description of a person.


The service is secure, reliable and easy to use for our group, Hodge added.


Hodge also said the information can be sent specifically to residents registered within a ¼ mile radius, giving them the opportunity to receive trustworthy information relevant only to their neighborhood. Residents decide from which local agencies they want to receive information. Subscribers can also choose the way in which alerts are received, whether it is by email, text message or over the web.


Nixle builds on the foundations of other public-to-public communication services, such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, but adds the key component of security.


“When citizens receive information from our agency via Nixle, they know it can be trusted,” Hodge said.


Polk County and neighboring residents can immediately begin receiving pertinent information via text message, email and web by registering free at www.nixle.com or go to www.polkncsheriff.com/ and click on the
Nixle logo. The sheriff’s office also encourages residents to like the sheriff’s
office Facebook page.


Nixle is a community information service provider built exclusively to provide secure and reliable communications. It is the first authenticated and secure service that connects
municipal agencies and community organizations to residents in real time, delivering information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through e-mails and via Web access. Nixle has secured a partnership with Nlets (the International Justice and Public Safety Network), allowing local police departments nationwide to send immediate alerts and advisories.


For more information, visit www.nixle.com.

Contact Us:

Polk County Sheriff's Office
40 Ward Street
Columbus, North Carolina 28722

Office: 828.894.3001
Jail:     828.894.3158
Fax:     828.894.2067
Emergency 911


Donald J. Hill, Sheriff

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Polk County Sheriff's Office, 2013