Burglary Discovered on Arrival Home

A Sheriff’s Deputy was dispatched on a residential burglary report at 8:06 Wednesday morning. Deputy Andrew Hall met a woman who said she had arrived home from her overnight work shift at ZF and her neighbor came over and warned her to be careful because her door was open to her house. The neighbor reportedly indicated having observed a mini-van at the victim’s house around 12:30 in the morning. The woman checked and found a cordless phone missing, along with three televisions. They had 70 inch, 48 inch and 40 inch screens. Value was noted as $1,300.  Deputy Hall reported observing damage to the victim’s front door, indicating that force had been used to gain entry.

Where’s My House Key!

Sheriff’s Lt. Higgenbotham was dispatched to a Lil’ Cricket store at 3:53 yesterday morning after a woman called from there to report an assault. On arrival at the scene, EMS was leaving to transport the woman to hospital due to complainants about her neck. Lt. Higgenbotham when to the residence where the incident reportedly happened and knocked several times before the boyfriend came to the door, saying he had been asleep. He reportedly indicated that he and his girlfriend had arrived home in the early morning hours after being out for a few drinks. He indicated she was upset with him, yelling for him to find the keys, and when he couldn’t locate them, she broke a window to get inside the house. He alleged that she swung at him a couple of times after inside. The officer observed scratches on the left side of the man’s face and a lip was ‘busted.’ The man said he didn’t want the woman charged, he just wanted his wallet back so he could leave.

Lt. Higgenbotham went to the hospital and talked with the woman and noted observing a small scratch below her right eye and some faint redness. She alleged the man assaulted her, and that any marks on his neck would be from where she defended herself. The officer was going to present information to a judge to see if any charges were in order from the incident.

Trip to Grandma’s Interrupted

Clinton Public Safety Officer Gutierrez reported he was stationary Tuesday night when he noticed a man staggering across the street. A car then came along and had to stop because the man got in its way. According to his police report, Gutierrez made contact with the adult male as he crossed the road into a nearby Family Dollar parking lot. When the officer approached the male, he recognized the apparently intoxicated man from a previous Public Intoxication case. Officer Gutierrez noted observing a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage. The man reportedly advised the officer that he was on the way to his grandmother’s house.  Gutierrez asked the man for an ID. As the subject pulled an ID from his pocket, he dropped it. Reaching over to pick it up, the man struggled to grab it, but missed. As the officer advised the man of the scent of alcohol consumption and his having almost been hit by a car, the man reportedly stated that he was fine, and added that he was only going to his grandmother’s house.

Noting very slow and slurred speech, the smell of alcoholic beverage and the man’s swaying during their conversation; the officer placed the man under arrest for a public intoxication charge. The man was transported to the Johnson Detention Center, instead of grandma’s house.

Firecracker –vs- Window

Tuesday afternoon on Beauregard Street, a Clinton man reported to police that his neighbor had shot a firecracker through his front window. The alleged perpetrator reportedly advised Public Safety Officer Reel that he had already spoken with the victim about paying for the estimated $20 in damage to the widow.

The complainant then called his father, who owned the residence, to ask what should be done. The father told Officer Reel that he, along with his son and the suspect, would handle the situation and that he did not wish to press any charges.

2nd Call Got Him

At 9:05 Wednesday evening, Laurens Police Sgt. Simmons responded to the second complaint in an hour about a situation in the southeast part of town, where an allegedly drunk and disorderly person was reported to be trying to instigate a fight. A 40-year-old man was arrested on a Breach of Peace charge and placed in the county lockup. After a hold to sober up, the man was officially booked later yesterday.

Police Chase Spartanburg to Laurens

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday assisted Spartanburg deputies in a police chase involving a suspect in a Strong Armed Robbery in Spartanburg. The chase included many rural roads in Laurens County north and west of Laurens. Laurens County Chief Deputy Jarvis Reeder said it included travel on I-385, US 221, Highway 308, Metric Road, Highway 14, and loops that included Lynn Avenue and Lakeview Drive back to 14 before finally coming thru Laurens, southbound on Harper Street. The chase reportedly ended just after 11:30 am on the entrance ramp from South Harper Extension onto the 127 By-Pass when the fleeing vehicle was bumped by a Spartanburg Deputy’s patrol car.

After being checked by Laurens County EMS, 48-year-old Ephriam Guadelupe of 318 Alverson Road, Campebello was released to Spartanburg County. The Sheriff’s Office there has him booked on charges of Strong Armed Robbery, Grand Larceny, Petit Larceny, Use of a Vehicle without Consent and Failure to Stop for Blue Lights.

One of the rural Laurens County Roads traveled during the police chase was Poole Town Road, northeast of Laurens. Guadelupe was booked as a resident of Poole Town Road when arrested by Laurens City Police in December, 2015. WLBG.com shows Laurens Police had charges that included Safecracking at a Corner Mart store at 1403 West Main in Laurens.

Laurens County Chief Deputy Sheriff Jarvis Reeder said that over twenty deputies from the two counties were involved in the chase. Sheriff Don Reynolds said “We are glad that the deputies of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office were able to assist in the apprehension of Ephriam Guadelupe, and thankful that no injuries resulted from this arrest.”

4 Charged from December 7th Firearms Theft

Four people from Woodruff and Enoree have been charged in connection with a Laurens County burglary last month and the theft of several firearms. The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office yesterday arrested 21-year-old Brandon Leigh Baxter of 301 Parson Road, Woodruff, 23-year-old Brandon Mark Good of 102 Jamies Creek Drive, Woodruff, 24-year-old Dana Renee Smith of 15,169 Highway 221, Enoree and 20-year-old Zachary Thomas Taylor of 830 Browning Road, Enoree. The three men and one woman were each charged with Burglary 1st Degree and Grand Larceny.

In warrants for each, Sheriff’s Lt. Keith McIntosh states that on December 7th, 2016 the subject entered a building at a Mahaffey Road, Gray Court address and became armed with a deadly weapon. Each defendant is further accused of taking and carrying away eleven firearms with intent to deprive the owner of the weapons. They were valued in excess of $2,000. The scene of the burglary is on the Green Pond Road side of Mahaffey Road, south of Highway 101.

During arraignment hearings yesterday, bond was denied on both charges for all four defendants. Brandon Lee Baxter and Brandon Mark Good of Woodruff, along with Dana Renee Smith and Zachary Thomas Taylor of, Enoree, remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

18 + 15 = Trouble

Sexual activity with a female three years younger was indicated in a warrant served yesterday on a Clinton teen. The 18-year-old male was arrested by the Sheriff’s Office and charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. A warrant dated yesterday cites the investigation of Deputy Howard as indicating that the 18-year-old male knowingly and willfully caused a minor child, age 15, to become disobedient to her parents, by encouraging her to sneak out of her home to meet him on numerous occasions, and of having intercourse with her. The young man was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

Parents – Don’t Smoke Weed with Children Present

21-year-old Constance Angelica Alejo Brown of 3342 Warrior Creek Church Road, Gray Court remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning. Ms. Brown, also known as “Jelly, was arrested by the Sheriff’s Office Tuesday and charged with Unlawful Neglect of Children. The warrant states that between December 1st and 14th, 2016 Ms. Brown placed a minor child at unreasonable risk of harm by allowing the child to be in the presence of her smoking marijuana and the child’s father smoking marijuana. The warrant states the defendant has custody of and is the child’s parent or guardian. Constance Angelica “Jelly” Brown remained in custody with a cash or surety bond set at $10,000.

5 Charges Follow 5:30 am Arrest

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man just after 5:30 yesterday morning who was eventually served with five charges. 41-year-old Curtis Edward Nabors of 2985 Friendship Church Road, Gray Court was initially arrested by Deputy Howard, who issued tickets charging Driving under Suspension, Open Container and Public Intoxication at 5:35 yesterday morning on Exchange Drive, Laurens. Warrants were later served on Curtis Nabors, further charging him with Use of a Vehicle without Permission and with Petit Larceny. These allege that Mr. Nabors took a Debit Card from its owner yesterday and that he took a 2006 Suzuki without consent of the owner, also on January 11th.

Cash or surety bonds on the Use of a Vehicle without Permission and Petit Larceny warrants were set totaling $1,650. Bonds on the ticketed charges totaled $1,111. Curtis Edward Nabors remained in custody this morning.

30 Days to Serve

The Sheriff’s Office yesterday booked 39-year-old Cydreil Laron Barksdale of Apartment 4-A at 309 Exchange Drive, Laurens with a Bench Warrant from Laurens Municipal Court. It states that Mr. Barksdale was convicted July 14, 2016 for Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent and sentenced to a $400 fine or serving 30 days in jail. Cydreil Laron Barksdale remained in custody this morning, apparently serving those 30 days.

Assault Alleged in Arrest Last Night

A Fountain Inn woman was arrested by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office following an alleged assault last night. 51-year-old Wanda Jean Roberts of 524 Stewart Road was charged with Assault and Battery 3rd Degree in a ticket issued by Deputy Crosby at her residence. Ms. Roberts was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

Not His ‘Lucky Day’

Tuesday was not a ‘lucky day’ for a Fountain Inn man. 29-year-old Lucky Ronnie Hamby of unit 117 at 491 Chapman Road, was placed in the Laurens County Detention Center and served with a General Sessions Court Bench Warrant states he failed to appear for an initial appearance in court. He was to face a charge June 24th, 2016 of Habitual Offender for Driving under Suspension. Lucky Ronnie Hamby remained in custody this morning.

Electric Meters Can Be Smart Too

 

At Monday’s meeting of Clinton City Council, City Manager Frank Stovall recommended that the city purchase of some 840 ‘smart’ residential electric meters and more than 200 commercial meters with polyphase capability.

The project for replacing the meters goes back to a decision made by city council nearly four years ago to purchase up to 1500 such meters which allow city personnel to obtain meter readings from their office as well as gather data from both the electric and water meters.  This purchase of electric meters will be placed in areas where smart water meters have already been installed.

Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase at a total cost of $237,056.36.  Funding for the purchase comes from a Utility Bond issue in 2011 and will not impact the current city budget.

The meters will be purchased in three phases.  The first purchase will occur right away.   The second purchase will be made after the first meters have been installed and the third purchase after those meters are installed.

The particular meters being purchased are Itron meters with Tantalus control boards.  Shealy Electric of Greenville has been the source of meters for the city of Clinton for many years and will also be providing these new meters.

Contested County Council Chair Vote, Then Things Got Ugly

Laurens County Council’s 1st meeting of 2017 began last night with a contested vote for Chair of Council, then tension heightened with rancorous exchanges between some council members.

 

County Attorney Sandy Cruickshanks began the meeting conducting the election of a Chair of Council for the next two years. Councilman Keith Tollison nominated Joe Wood for another term in that post. Councilman Stuart Jones nominated current Vice-Chair Diane Anderson. Wood won the 4 to 3 vote with votes by himself, Tollison, Nash and Pitts. Anderson received votes from herself, Jones and McDaniel.

Councilman Keith Tollison was elected for a 2-year term as Vice-Chair.

 

After being re-seated as chair, Joe Wood began a lengthy protest to an article posted in “a local media outlet,” here he said another council member, reportedly Stuart Jones, made untrue accusations against him and this council. Later, during public comment time, a county resident came forward and made a series of complaints against Councilman Jones. Stuart Jones attempted to respond, but was called out-of-order by Attorney Cruickshanks, who advised him to hold his comments till council comment time. During last night’s council comment time, the air in Council Chambers became very tense with a series of personal attacks, claims of hurt feelings and disappointments, and accusations of lies. This included Council Chair Wood saying that Councilman Jones tried to interfere with his reelection by coaxing an opponent to run against him.

Arguments from last year resurfaced, with yelling and Jones pounding his fist on the desk, accusing Wood of hurting the county due to deficits being covered by a reserve fund and not wanting to see the county progress. Wood accused Jones of trying to destroy our EMS system by bringing in private ambulances, and trying to get him out of office.

Jones restated his concerns about council’s recent vote offering outgoing Sheriff Chastain an option to continue county health insurance. Chastain declined the offer. Jones told Chairman Wood he feels the “Good Ole Boys” were secretive in making the offer following an executive session discussion, setting a dangerous precedent. This involved a half-hour discussion during which Wood told Jones to “grow up.” Keith Tollison said he was offended by Jones’ accusation of “back-room” discussions, saying

“We were just discussing an issue that was brought up by one of this council, and we had our legal representation present to advise us.”

“Go Tigers!”

The Clemson Tigers returned from Tampa yesterday to crowds cheering their big victory, winning the National Football Championship.

Among Clemson fans celebrating the win was United States Congressman Jeff Duncan of Laurens County. He said “As the only Clemson football alumni ever elected to Congress, I take immense pride in this National Championship. Congratulations to Coach Dabo Swinney and the entire team and staff on an incredible performance that showcased the team’s grit, determination and talent. I couldn’t be prouder to be a Clemson alum more than I am today. “Go Tigers!”

Juveniles Apprehended in Car Theft

Laurens City Police have reportedly apprehended two juveniles regarding a car theft. Officer Dillon Sherfield responded at 9:30 Monday night to a complaint of a stolen car in the southwest section of the city. The officer noted the complainant advised him that her grandson and his friend had come to visit her at an unusually late time, and that the friend seemed very anxious to leave. She indicated that after they left, she discovered her car was missing.

When police checked with the youth’s mother, she reportedly said her son was there, but there was no sign of the car or any car keys.

Laurens Officer Billy Sellers reported spotting a car matching the stolen vehicle’s description, initiated blue lights but lost sight of the car. Later in the evening, Laurens Police Sgt. Jones reported spotting a male matching the grandson’s description in the same area, and stopped to inquire about the stolen vehicle. He reportedly questioned the youth about the location of the vehicle and was told he did not know anything about it. When placed in the police car, he reportedly revised his story and told the officer that he met up with his friend who had the car and when they saw the blue lights they went into a side street to evade the police and parked the car. Both then ran into the bushes. The youth reportedly then took the officer to where the vehicle was located. With the car locked with keys inside, officers got an extra key from the owner to retrieve it.

A report notes one of the two juvenile subjects was placed in Juvenile Detention; the other was released to custody of a relative.

New CPW Tap Fees for Natural Gas  

A new “tap charge” for natural gas service from the Laurens Commission of Public Works became effective yesterday. The Commission unanimously approved the change Monday night at their January meeting.

Formerly the tap charge was $30.00, which included up to the first 150 linear feet of service line from the road to the building as well as hanging and connecting the meter.

The new fee, now in effect, is $100.00 for the first 200 linear feet. CPW General Manager John Young said the new fee would be competitive with neighboring services. He said the CPW was losing money on each tap under the old fee structure.

The vote this week also approved that once the tap fee is paid, the tap will be made and all charges will commence on the next billing period. Plus, if a tap is removed at the customer’s request and the customer desires the tap restored, the charge for restoring the tap shall be half of the cost of labor, material, and equipment.

Christmas Awards from Clinton City Council

Holiday Awards were presented at this week’s January meeting of Clinton City Council.

 

These included winners for the 2016 Clinton Christmas Parade. The Whitten Center entry won 3rd place. The Red Hat Divas came in 2nd. The Thornwell Home for Children’s “Grench”-themed entry was honored with the 1st Place award for the Christmas Parade.

 

City Council also presented the annual “Spirit of Christmas” awards Monday evening. A residence from each of the six wards in town is recognized, as well as a city-wide commercial “Spirit of Christmas” winner.

Residential winners were…..

Ward 1 – Timothy Merchant, Jr. of 506 Sloan Street

Ward 2 – Bobby Bingham of 214 Magnolia Street

Ward 3 – George Franks of 109 Neighborhood Drive

Ward 4 – Kenny Moore of 205 Copeland Street

Ward 5 – Jimmy Heaton of 401 Caldwell Street

Ward 6 – Daniel Hill of 104 Woodrow Street

Each residential winner received a plaque commemorating the accomplishment as well as a $25 credit on their Clinton utility bill.

The winner of the 2016 “Spirit of Christmas” award in the commercial category was Miss Emily Bailey for her storefront property on North Broad Street. She received a $50 utility credit.

2017 Off to a Good Start in Laurens County Traffic

We just finished a bad month with a surge of highway fatalities in Laurens County during December. To change the tune of the news, we report today that the first weekly update for 2017 from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety shows Laurens County with no traffic deaths for the year, as of Sunday midnight.

Statewide, though, with two traffic fatalities over the weekend, South Carolina’s traffic toll thru January 8th was 16 deaths. This included 14 motor vehicle occupants and 2 pedestrians.