Missing Person Sought – Newberry County

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The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing person.

Robert Lester Jones, 32, (pictured above), was last seen on Sunday, July 24th around 7pm on Evans Street in Newberry.

Jones is described as a white male, 5 foot 11 inches tall and weighing approximately 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a blue striped shirt, blue jeans and a multi-colored welder’s cap.

Anyone with any information abut the location of Robert Lester Jones is asked to contact the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office (803)321-2211.  Their email address:  tips@ncso.sc.gov

Bonds Denied on New Arson Charges

Bonds were denied yesterday afternoon for three men who have been charged with the burning of the old Laurel Hill Baptist Church building in Waterloo last Saturday.

The Sheriff’s Office Tuesday arrested 72-year-old William Edward Prince of 253 Kirby Road, Waterloo on two counts of 1st Degree Arson and one charge of Criminal Conspiracy. In addition to the church fire, one warrant stated that he did counsel and procure the burning of the Masonic Lodge located behind the church, in addition to having conspired with the other two men and burned the old church building.

The second 1st Degree Arson charge was added Tuesday for the two men initially arrested last weekend on charges they conspired to and then burned the church building. As with the first two charges, bond was denied also on the 2nd Arson charge yesterday afternoon for 31-year-od Patrick Kendall Sullivan and 34-year-old Timothy William Pyle, both of 1142 Dogwood Road, Gray Court.

All three men remained in the Laurens County Detention Center today.

  4th Person Charged in Waterloo Church Fire

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a 4th person in connection with the fire that destroyed the old Laurel Hill Baptist Church off Highway 221 in Waterloo last Saturday. 29-year-old Joshua Allen Fowler of 80 Diane Drive, Laurens was charged with Accessory after the Fact to a Felony. Sheriff’s Lt. J.D. Shelton states that on July 23rd Fowler rendered assistance to a felon, knowing that the felon had committed 1st Degree Arson; this assistance rendered with the intent of assisting the felon to avoid the consequences of his crime.

A $15,000 cash or surety bond was set on the Accessory after the Fact to a Felony charge. Joshua Allen Fowler remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

24 New Charges allege Mail and Bank Card Thefts

A woman arrested two weeks ago for drug and firearms warrants is now facing another 24 charges from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.

At 8:36 Thursday morning, July 14th Deputy Richey was dispatched to a residence on Indian Mound Road in the Ware Shoals area where a resident reported a woman had come to her door, appearing to be on some form of drugs. The woman had asked for directions, indicating she was lost The resident noted observing a pistol in the woman’s possession. On arrival Deputy Richey noted the visitor spoke with slurred speech. In checking a bag for the pistol, the officer reported finding a 25-caliber semi-automatic handgun, methamphetamine and four yellow tablets of Clonazepam. He also allegedly found 20 debit cards with different names and a bag containing mail with various addresses.

27-year-old Candace Heather Tranah of 505 Oak Hill Road, Belton was served Laurens County warrants charging her with Possession of Less than One Gram of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Controlled Substance and with Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol. Cash or surety bonds were set totaling $10,000 on these three charges.

Now, the Sheriff’s Office has added another 24 charges to Ms. Tranah. Following further investigation from Sheriff’s Sgt. Farrah Cook, Tranah has been charged with one Count of Bank Transaction Card Theft and 23 counts of Petit Larceny. She is accused of stealing mail from some 20 Waterloo addresses and 3 Ware Shoals addresses. Jail records note that bond has been denied on the 24 new charges.

Candace Heather Tranah remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested a man on allegations of sexual conduct with a four-year-old boy earlier this year. 28-year-old Joseph Darrell Smith of 14434 Highway 221 South, Waterloo is charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor, or Attempt, 1st Degree. Sgt.Carter states that on or about March 11th, 2016 in Laurens County Joseph Darrell Smith did engage in sexual battery by touching a four-year-old victim’s genital and by having the child perform oral sex on him. Joseph Darrell Smith was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with Minor

A Gray Court man was arrested yesterday on charge of inappropriate touching of a minor female. 56-year-old Gary Lewis Sullivan of Gray Court was charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor in the 3rd Degree. Sgt. Carter states that on or about June 3rd 2016 Mr. Sullivan did commit the crime of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a minor in that he touched the victim’s genitalia with his hand. Gary Lewis Sullivan was being held overnight, pending arraignment today.

Undercover Drug Deal 13 Months Ago

The Sheriff’s Office arrested a man yesterday in connection with an alleged undercover drug deal just over a year ago. 28-year-old Dantonio Demarcus Westfield of 100 Dial Street, Laurens is charged with Manufacture, Distribution of Cocaine 3rd or Subsequent Offense. Sgt. Matt Veal states that on June 2nd, 2015 Mr. Westfield manufactured crack cocaine, a schedule II controlled substance to a confidential informant of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, and that the subject has a prior conviction for this offense.

No bond was set during arraignment. Dantonio Demarcus Westfield remained in the Laurens County Detention Center today.

Drug Charge Follow Wattsville Arrest in Early Daylight

Drug charges were served yesterday after an early morning traffic stop in Wattsville. Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Howard reported he was on patrol on US221 at 5:40 am when he observed a car pull onto Sirrine Street between the mill and Verdin’s Farm and Garden Center, then stopped in the middle of the roadway. The officer approached the driver, noting she started to act very nervously. Van Pelt joined Deputy Howard during an investigation that led to the discovery of a book bag, in which they reported finding a scale and a silver tin pouch with 16 small clear baggies. Deputy Howard reported observing that three of the baggies had some type of crystal substance inside. Laurens City Police responded to the scene with a test kit, which reportedly showed the substance to be methamphetamine.

32-year-old Angela Lynn Galmiche of 180 Dodd Street, Welford was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute and Possession with Intent within Proximity of a School.

Deputy Brandon Howard states that on July 27th one Angela Galmiche possessed methamphetamine on Sirrene Street, Laurens with intent to distribute, and that this occurred within a half mile of Ford Elementary School.

Cash or surety bonds on the two charges were set totaling $35,000. Angela Lynn Galmiche remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Child Neglect

The Sheriff’s Office made another arrest on a Child Neglect charge yesterday. 58-year-old Jean Campbell Parker of 510 Curry’s Lake Road, Gray Court is charged with Unlawful Neglect of Children. A warrant states that on or about June 3rd, 2016 Ms. Parker did place at unreasonable risk of harm or did cause to be done unlawfully or maliciously any bodily harm to or abandonment of a minor child. The defendant had custody of and/or charge of the minor child and is the child’s parent or guardian. Jean Campbell Parker was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

Burglary on A.B. Jacks Road

Deputy Tyler Hunter was dispatched to investigate a burglary at a residence in the 3300 range of A.B. Jacks Road at 9:54 last night. A man said he left for work at 5:30 yesterday morning, then returned home last night to discover the house had been ransacked. An LG flat screen TV and a hunting rifle were noted as missing. They were valued at $1,100. Deputy Hunter documented damage to a door handle and a split in the door frame. The burglary was referred to investigations for further review.

Theft in College View? …..Well…Never Mind….

Clinton Public Safety responded to the College View neighborhood at 12:04 yesterday afternoon to investigate a vehicle break-in. A resident indicated he was missing money from a bag he had in a vehicle. The victim, who was reported to be swaying from side to side, unsteady on his feet with the odor of alcohol and with alcoholic drink bottles observed in his home, said some folks were over the previous night and he thinks one of them took his money. He indicated he could not remember what happened the previous night, however, and did not wish to pursue the matter.

Red Mustang Runs Stop Signs, Drug Charges Follow

Clinton Public Safety Officer Derric Gandee was performing routine patrol on West Carolina at 42 minutes after midnight yesterday morning when he allegedly observed a red Mustang run a stop sign at West Main and West Carolina and continue traveling on South Bell Street. He followed and made a traffic stop, where he reported smelling raw marijuana from the vehicle. After an investigation, 23-year-old Antavious Demonta Moore of 500 North Bell Street, Clinton was arrested and charged with Disregarding a Stop Sign Simple Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Transport of Liquor with a Broken Seal. Mr. Moore was released later in the morning on personal recognizance bonds totaling $1,000.

Public Safety seized approximately 4.67 grams of a green leafy substance, a small blue digital scale with cocaine residue, a purple glass water bong with marijuana residue, a bottle of Don Julia Tequila that was half full and two empty bottles of Patrol Tequila and Palmetto Moonshine.

3rd Man Arrested in Church Fire, 3 Also Charged with Masonic Lodge Fire

A third man has now been charged in connection with the burning of the old Laurel Hill Baptist Church building in Waterloo last Saturday. He and the two men arrested last weekend are also charged with 1st Degree Arson for setting fire to a Masonic Lodge near that church building.

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday booked 72-year-old William Edward Prince of 253 Kirby Road, Waterloo on two counts of 1st Degree Arson and one charge of Criminal Conspiracy.

Lt. J.D. Shelton states that on July 23rd one William Edward Price did commit 1st Degree Arson in that he set fire to a church building, which caused a fireman to get injured during the process of extinguishing the fire.

Lt. Shelton also states that on July 23rd Prince unlawfully planned or schemed with two others to accomplish Arson by unlawful means.

In the second Arson warrant, Lt. Shelton states that on July 23rd Prince committed the crime of 1st Degree Arson in that he did counsel and procure the burning of the Masonic Lodge located behind the Laurel Hill Baptist Church off Highway 221 South.

The two men arrested last weekend for the burning of the old Laurel Hill Baptist Church building were charged yesterday with burning of the Masonic Lodge near the church. 31-year-od Patrick Kendall Sullivan and 34-year-old Timothy William Pyle, both of 1142 Dogwood Road, Gray Court, were served with both an additional charge of 1st Degree Arson.

Lt. Shelton states that Sullivan and Pyle committed the second crime of 1st Degree Arson by setting fire to the Masonic Lodge located off Highway 221 South, where a fireman was injured while putting out the fire.

With bond denied Sunday on their charges of conspiring then burning the church building, Sullivan and Pyles was to face arraignment at 4:00 Wednesday afternoon on the additional 1st Degree Arson charge.

Following his arrest Tuesday, William Edward Prince was being held overnight in the Laurens County Detention Center, pending arraignment on all three charges Wednesday afternoon.

2nd Vote for Fire Budget, Vote on Fire Station Postponed

A second reading vote on the Laurens County Fire Budget was unanimously approved at last night’s Laurens County Council Meeting, after adjusting the total budget of $2,157,400.00 to include fire contract increases requested by Clinton and Fountain Inn. Originally Clinton requested a 1.88% increase and Fountain Inn a 5% increase, which amounted to $5,338.00 for Clinton and almost $10,000 for Fountain Inn. After much discussion with the offering of compromise figures, council unanimously approved the requested $5,338.00 amount for Clinton ad the same figure for Fountain Inn.

Council expects to approve the adjusted fire budget, Ordinance 822, after a required public hearing at the next council meeting.

There were 50 volunteer fire fighters present at last night’s meeting in a show of support for Fire Director Greg Lindley’s request to also amend the budget in order to implement his proposal for the Fountain Inn contracted area.

Lindley’s proposal includes constructing a fire station on Thompson Road that will house an engine, tanker and rescue truck that would be moved from Gray Court. The proposed station would be three bays wide and one bay deep.

The building will be paid by the Fire Bond, while the Fire Reserve Fund would be tapped to pay for $9,000 for communication equipment and $17,600 for protective clothing for eight firefighters at the new station.

Fire Director Lindley estimated that the total operating budget would be approximately $18,750, which includes utilities, building maintenance, training, and equipment.

Greg Lindley offered three reasons to approve his proposal. He said this plan will result in improved ISO ratings, improved response time, and that service will be improved by having cross-trained firefighters. He said “With the fast pace being seen on the northern part of Laurens County, we must improve the infrastructure and services in order to keep up with the growth. With the fire service seeing a steady fund balance with increases in revenues and mill values, I believe this proposal (should) be approved.”

Councilman Pitts questioned the validity of Lindley’s payroll figures, and Chairman Joe Wood wondered if this plan would harm the county’s relations with Fountain Inn. Lindley assured him it would not, saying he has consulted with Fountain Inn officials.

Chairman Wood also was concerned that the entire council was not in attendance last evening, saying a vote on the proposal would be postponed until full council was in attendance.

Arrest Alleges December Police Chase

Laurens County yesterday served charges on a man from a police chase in a stolen Coca-Cola truck last December. 34-year-old Thomas Ronald Zorrer was booked here with an address on US 221, Woodruff.  He is also facing  unrelated charges from Spartanburg County. Here, he was charged with Failure to Stop for Blue Light and Receiving Stolen Goods. Sheriff’s Sgt. Nations states that on December 16, 2015 in Laurens County Thomas Zorrer, while driving a motor vehicle, failed to stop when signaled by means of a siren and/or flashing light on a law enforcement vehicle. He also had in his possession a 2001 Chevy Astro Van belonging to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Spartanburg, valued at $3,000, knowing at the time that the vehicle was stolen.

Zorrer is also reportedly wanted for a Felony charge from Buck’s County, Pennsylvania.

Cash or surety bonds were set totaling $20,000 on the two Laurens County charges. Thomas Zorrer was being held earlier today in the Laurens County Detention Center.

  Man Wanted for Warrant Facing 2 New Charges, Too

A Sheriff’s Officer was patrolling Highway 76 East last evening when at 7:49 he noted observing a man he recognized as someone with an active warrant for his arrest. The subject was walking down the sidewalk near the intersection with Peachtree Street in Clinton. In arresting the man for the warrant, Deputy Van Pelt reported locating two bags. One allegedly contained 3.03 grams of marijuana and the other .77 gram of a rock-like substance. Clinton Public Safety Lt. Anderson did a field test that reportedly determined that substance to be methamphetamine. 35-year-old Cedric Cornelious Robinson of 121 North Livingston Street, Clinton was issued a citation charging him with Simple Possession of Marijuana at 8:02 last evening. In the detention center he was served with a Bench Warrant issued back in March which noted he was convicted for Reckless Driving last November 10th and has a sentence of 30 days or $458.35 due. In addition to handling that sentence, Robinson was also being held in the Laurens County Detention Center for a warrant from the alleged Meth possession.

Jail Time Following Probation Violation

It’s back to jail for Jay. During a visit to court yesterday, 38-year-old Willie James “Jay” Holmes Jr. of 112 Bailey Circle, Clinton was remanded back to the South Carolina Department of Corrections. Court records note he had been sentenced to 7 years, suspended to 3 years with 36 months probation. The Court found him in violations of several terms of his probation. Noting he had served 3 years of the sentence, he was sentenced to return to jail for 10 months.

Failure to Complete Drug Court

35-year-old Krista Ann Rook of 211 Lynn Avenue, Laurens was booked in  the Laurens County Detention Center yesterday on a Contempt of Court ruling . Judge Don Hocker issued a Bench Warrant for her arrest February 24th, 2016, citing failure to complete requirements of Drug Court and ordering her to be arrested and held until her case can be resolved. Meanwhile, she is being held without bond.

Door Kicked In on Lonesome Dove Road

A Sheriff’s Deputy responded to Lonesome Dove Road, Cross Hill at 5:33 yesterday afternoon to investigate a home break-in. A man told Deputy McMahan that he and his wife had left for work around 6:05 yesterday morning. When he returned home last evening he found the house had been broken into, apparently by kicking in the back door. The only thing initial discovered missing was a television, valued at $800. The subject left by pulling the back door closed. Tire prints were found in the grass.

Too Hot for Fido?

A local woman spent the night in the relatively “cool comfort” of the Laurens County Detention Center last night. Laurens City Police Officer Billy Sellers arrested a 50-year-old Laurens woman with a ticket issued charging her with Ill Treatment of an Animal at 7:30 last evening. The ticket noted Animal Neglect during hot weather at Wal-Mart. She was to have a bond hearing on the charge today.