Polk County Sheriff's Office Polk County Sheriff's Office

News and Events

Over 2k gun permits issued in Polk County

Published 11:32pm Thursday, September 25, 2014


by Leah Justice

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office recently released data on gun permits issued during current Sheriff Donald Hill’s tenure, which began in November 2008.
There has been 865 new concealed weapons permits issued with 303 concealed weapons permits being renewed since the end of 2008, according to the sheriff’s office.

There were also more than 2,000 handgun purchase permits issued during that same time period.
Sheriff Hill said the high number aren’t surprising considering tragic shootings occurring across the country over the last several years.
“It does not surprise me to see these numbers,” Sheriff Hill said. “There certainly has been a lot of media coverage on the issuance of permits in the wake of several tragic shootings. People certainly have a right to protect themselves and many opt to purchase weapons as one of those avenues of protection.”
Gun permits are available for purchase and approval by the sheriff’s office. To apply for a handgun permit purchase, visit the sheriff’s office, located at 40 Ward St., Columbus. The office is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for applications. Applications must be notarized with a $5 per gun permit fee required. Paperwork may take up to two weeks to process before approval.
Prior to applying for a concealed weapons permit, the applicant must complete a state mandated concealed weapon safety course. The application, also available at the sheriff’s office, must also be notarized. Concealed weapon permit includes a $90 fee charged for new applicants and a $75 fee for renewal permits. After being notarized, concealed weapon applications can be returned to the sheriff’s office on a Tuesday or Thursday between 1-3 p.m. in order for the applicant to be fingerprinted. Processing of concealed weapon permit paperwork, which is done by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, can take up to 90 days.
“Many people have had questions about the process required for either of these permits,” Sheriff Hill said. “I hope this clarifies the process and my stance on such weapon possessions. We’re here to help our citizens in any way we can.”

Polk sheriff, detective speak about Biggs’ sexual assault sentence

Published 7:41am Thursday, September 25, 2014


by Leah Justice


Following last Friday’s sentencing of Anthony Biggs, 46, of Poors Ford Rd., Rutherfordton (Green Creek), Polk County law enforcement officials thanked jurors for giving the victim justice after finding Biggs guilty of six counts of sexual offense involving a minor.

Biggs stood trial in Polk County Superior Court last week and a 12-member jury consisting of seven men and five women found him guilty on all counts.

Biggs was found guilty of three counts of first-degree sex offense and three counts of indecent liberties with a minor. Superior court judge Robert T. Sumner, who served out of Gaston County, sentenced Biggs to a minimum of 71 years in prison.

Lt. BJ Bayne, who charged Biggs in February 2013, said she is thankful to the jurors who listened to the evidence and found Biggs “in fact guilty.”

“This gives the victim some closure where she can now start the healing process and begin moving forward,” said Bayne.

Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill thanked his staff, the district attorney’s office and jurors for giving the victim justice.

“Today is a great day,” Hill said after the sentencing. “Polk County citizens should feel a little more relieved that another sex offender is off the streets and he got what he deserves.”

Biggs was transferred to Statesville to serve his sentence at the North Carolina Department of Corrections.

District Attorney Greg Newman prosecuted the case.

A Polk County Grand Jury also this week handed down indictments on more defendants who have been charged in Polk County for sexual assault offenses, including Zachery Shehan, Timothy Hill and Angel Iquic, according to court records.

Biggs sentenced to 71 years in prison minimum

Published 12:23am Tuesday, September 23, 2014


by Leah Justice

A 12-member Polk County jury found Anthony Kyle Biggs guilty of three counts of indecent liberties with a child and three counts of statutory sexual offense with a child that sent him to prison for at least 71 years.

Judge Robert T. Sumner sentenced Biggs during Polk County Superior Court to a minimum of 71 years in prison and a maximum of more than 87 years following a jury trial, according to court documents.

The actual sentence was for Biggs to serve 288 months – 355 months, plus 288 months – 355 months, plus 276 months – 341 months, to run consecutively, according to court records.

Biggs, of Green Creek, who was 44 at the time of his arrest on Feb. 19, 2013, was out on bond when he appeared at his trial last week. The trial began on Wednesday, Sept. 17 and concluded Friday afternoon with the sentencing hearing.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested Biggs after investigating the case since the beginning of 2013 following an incident report in reference to possible sexual allegations against a minor.

According to sheriff’s office reports, the allegations came from a female who told investigators that sexual assaults were made on her by Biggs over several years. The incidences allegedly occurred beginning when the victim was under the age of 13, according to the sheriff’s office. The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation assisted the sheriff’s office in the investigation.

Polk sheriff honors volunteer Bourbeau for more than 4k hours

Published 1:11am Wednesday, September 17, 2014


by Leah Justice

Hugs and some tears abound the Polk County Commissioner meeting on Monday, Sept. 8 when Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill honored volunteer officer Arthur Bourbeau for his service to the county.

Hill said a lot of people come to Columbus on Wednesdays (when court is occurring) and know what it looks like and lately court has been happening three to four times per week.

“One day we had 700 on the docket with three courtrooms going,” Hill said. “It requires a lot of manpower.”

But he said he has one man who doesn’t miss a day. A man who has been dedicated and has stood by the sheriff’s side.

“He takes his job seriously,” Hill said.

Hill said Bourbeau showed up to the sheriff’s office wanting to work. Bourbeau is a Green Creek fireman and wanted to stay busy so Hill found a way and put him in charge of the metal detector machine at the courthouse.

“We call him Boss Man,” Hill said. “He’s done a great job.”

Wednesdays at the sheriff’s office are now known as spaghetti day for Bourbeau as Hill said they try to take care of him. Hill also said everyone “loves Boss Man to death.”

“From the time he started volunteering we’re probably looking at over 4,000 hours he’s volunteered his time,” Hill said. “I get volunteers and I tell you, the money he has saved the taxpayers. You can imagine what 4,000 hours would cost.”

Hill invited anyone in the community to volunteer, saying the sheriff’s office trains and takes care of their volunteers.

Hill presented Bourbeau with a plaque for his 4,000 hours of service so far. Bourbeau said later he at least another 4,000 hours in him to volunteer.

Bourbeau received a standing ovation from commissioners and the audience.

18-year old and juvenile arrested for manufacturing marijuana

Published 1:12am Wednesday, September 17, 2014


by Leah Justice

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested an 18-year old and a juvenile this week after discovering marijuana being grown on Melvin Hill Road.

John Picklesimer, 18, of 1000 Melvin Hill Road, Tryon was arrested and charged with felony manufacture marijuana, felony possession/distribute of methamphetamine precursor and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to sheriff reports. A male juvenile was also charged with felony manufacture marijuana, felony possession/distribute of methamphetamine precursor and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to sheriff reports.

Sheriff’s office investigators went to the residence at 1000 Melvin Hill Road to investigate marijuana being grown at the location.

After a search of the property, investigators found marijuana plants, methamphetamine precursors and paraphernalia, according to sheriff reports.

Both suspects were still in custody under $25,000 secured bonds as of Monday afternoon. Both were scheduled for court on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Landrum man charged with statutory rape

Published 10:44am Saturday, September 6, 2014


by Leah Justice

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Landrum man recently after receiving reports from Polk County parents that the 26-year old had been involved in an inappropriate relationship with their daughter.

Zachery Logan Shehan, 26, of Boysenberry Lane, Landrum, was charged with three counts of statutory rape, according to sheriff reports.

Detectives determined during their investigation that there was sufficient evidence to validate there had been an inappropriate relationship, the sheriff report states.

“These types of cases occur more frequently than they should and the sheriff’s office will continue to actively pursue individuals who prey on underage children for prosecution,” said Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill.

Sheriff Hill encourages parents to be conscious of their children’s activities and to monitor their use of cell phones and social media sites.

Shehan was booked at the Polk County Detention facility under a $100,000 secured bond. Shehan was appointed a public defender during his first court appearance and is currently out on bond.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 24.

North Carolina law includes that a person commits a “Class B1 felony if the defendant engages in vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with a another person who is 13, 14, or 15 years old and the defendant is at least six years older than the person, except when the defendant is lawfully married to the person.”

It is a class C felony if the defendant is more than four but less than six years older than the person, except when the defendant is lawfully married to the person, according to North Carolina law. The legal age of consent in North Carolina is 16 years of age

Polk sheriff’s office arrests two in storage unit break-ins

Published 10:00pm Wednesday, September 3, 2014


by Leah Justice
A multi-jurisdiction cooperation resulted in the arrests of two suspects from Columbus accused of breaking into several storage building units in both Polk County and Campobello, S.C.
The Campobello Police Department discovered a vehicle recently leaving a storage building unit. Officers spoke with the individuals and discovered they had broken into the storage units. The Campobello Police Department arrested Cassius Abril and Tracy Rollins and transported them to the Spartanburg County, S.C. Detention Center.
Similar break-ins in Polk County had also been occurring so the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Tryon and Columbus Police Departments followed up with information received from Campobello and also arrested Abril and Rollins.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office charged Abril, 43, of Lynn Road, Columbus, with two counts of felony breaking and entering, two counts of felony larceny after breaking and entering, felony obtain property by false pretense and conspire to commit felony breaking and entering/larceny, according to sheriff reports.
Rollins, 38, of Lynn Road, Columbus was charged with felony breaking and entering, felony larceny after breaking and entering, felony larceny, conspire to commit felony larceny, felony obtaining property by false pretense and conspire to commit felony breaking and entering/larceny, according to sheriff reports.
In total, there were seven different locations of storage buildings there were broken into in three separate counties, according to the sheriff’s office. It is currently unknown exactly how many storage units involved. Law enforcement is still working with storage building owners to see if more units were broken into but not yet reported.
“This was a case of good police work and cooperation among all the agencies involved, not only here in Polk County but from South Carolina as well,” said Polk County Sheriff Donald J. Hill.
Abril received an $88,000 secured bond and as of Tuesday was still in custody. His first appearance in court was scheduled for Sept. 3.
Rollins received a $40,000 secured bond and was still being held in custody as of Tuesday, according to the sheriff’s office. Rollins’ next court appearance was also scheduled for Sept. 3.
The case is still under investigation with more charges and arrests expected, according to the sheriff’s office.

Polk arrests Pennsylvania man for second-degree murder

Published 4:34pm Tuesday, September 2, 2014


by Leah Justice

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office extradited a suspect from Philadelphia, Penn. last week accused of mailing illegal narcotics to a woman staying in Polk County who died in February after ingesting the drugs.
Sean Michael Harrington, 25, of 2127 Hancock St., Philadelphia, Penn was arrested and charged with second-degree murder from drug distribution, two counts of sell/deliver a schedule I controlled substance and one count of sell/deliver a schedule II controlled substance, according to the arrest warrants.

Harrington is accused of mailing heroin and cocaine to Elisif Bruun, who was 24 at the time of her death. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a medical facility in Polk County where Bruun was staying on Feb. 11, 2014 to an unattended death. Det. BJ Bayne of the sheriff’s office said there was evidence of an overdose and once Bruun was sent for autopsy, overdose was the confirmed cause of death by the medical examiner.


Bayne said the sheriff’s office and the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) began an investigation and discovered the narcotics were mailed to the facility and tracked it back to Harrington in Pennsylvania. Harrington has never been to Polk County, which is why the case is the first of its kind for both the district and Polk County. North Carolina law includes that a person can be charged with murder if they deliver a drug that causes a death, but this is the first in this area where there was no hand-to- hand contact and the drug was delivered by mail.
Bayne said the sheriff’s office has been in touch with Bruun’s family, who lives in Florida. Bruun had attended school in Maryland but came for treatment in Polk County from working in Maine.
Bayne said it’s been a long investigation and the family has said they will attend a trial if it goes to trial.
“They don’t want this to happen to any one else’s daughter,” Bayne said Tuesday.
District Attorney Greg Newman said the law is not particularly new in North Carolina, but he has not had a factual scenario quite like this one. What is different, he said, is because Harrington mailed the drugs and he did it for profit.
Newman also said in this particular case, the prosecution feels it has excellent evidence and the DA’s office is in a good position to present the case early next year.
Newman said this case is a good reminder to everyone that narcotics can so negatively impact people in so many ways and it can be delivered in the mail. He said he is glad North Carolina provides means to make the charge and providing it through the mail doesn’t mean someone can escape the legal responsibility.
“A fellow can be sitting in Pennsylvania and still have to face charges here in our courts,” said Newman.
Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill said no one wants to see a case like this, especially for a young woman who was trying to improve her life.
“People need to be held accountable for their actions,” Hill said.
Hill said the credit in the investigation goes to the detectives and the SBI who did an excellent job tracking down the suspect. Hill said if someone wants to provide narcotics to people in Polk County, officers will find them and if even if they don’t live in Polk County “we will find you.”
“If we can prosecute you, we are going to prosecute you to the max,” Hill said.
Harrington had his first appearance in Polk County court Tuesday, Sept. 2. Harrington is being held at the Transylvania County Jail under a $450,000 bond.
Harrington stood before Judge Emily Cowan and asked for a court appointed attorney. Cowan asked Harrington if he understood the charges against him and he said, “yes ma’am.”
The grand jury is scheduled to meet Sept. 15 to consider indicting Harrington on the charges. Newman plans to ask for an increased, $750,000 bond sometime after the grand jury convenes.
Cowan listed out the felony charges for Harrington with maximum sentences for each, which totaled more than 600 months, or more than 50 years in prison if convicted.

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