Teller Machine Fraud

The Sheriff’s Office received a report of Teller Machine Fraud from a Laurens area woman yesterday. Sgt. Christy Johnson responded to investigate at 10:46 am. The local resident told of having withdrawn $40 from an ATM in a Laurens area store and said she was later notified of suspicious activity on her card. $400 had been taken from her account. The matter was referred to Investigations at the Sheriff’s Office.

Duncan Comments on United Pull-Out of Obamacare

United Healthcare, the biggest health insurer in the United States, said yesterday it plans to exit most of the Affordable Care Act state exchanges where it currently operates by 2017. The health insurer had already indicated that it was dropping coverage of the plans, more commonly known as Obamacare, in Arkansas, Georgia and Michigan. CNN reports that during a conference call with analysts Tuesday, CEO Stephen Hemsley noted that “next year we will remain in only a handful of states.”Hemsley explained that UnitedHealth will leave most states by 2017 because the markets for these exchanges are relatively small and also have higher risks for the company over the short-term. As such, he said UnitedHealth (UNH) could not serve these exchanges on an “effective and sustained basis.”

Congressman Jeff Duncan of Laurens reacted to the news yesterday, saying  the announcement demonstrates the failure of government run healthcare. Duncan said “UnitedHealth’s decision signals the beginning of the end for ObamaCare, as decreased participation in the exchanges will cause rates to increase exponentially. “I knew this was an inevitability, which is why I have done everything I can to repeal and defund this horrible healthcare law. Our country should learn from its mistakes and move away from a costly government run health system and towards more patient centered, personalized care.”

Man Meets Subject Taking His ATV

A Laurens area man was driving home yesterday afternoon near Laurens when he met a younger man in the road who was pulling his ATV and trailer. The man told Sheriff’s Deputy McMahan that he turned around and attempted to follow but lost sight of his ATV in the dust. He told the officer that there was an older white Ford in front of his property when he met it on the road. The 2004 Honda ATV had been left in his front yard the previous day with the key in it. The man said the rust-orange metal dump trailer was hooked to the ATV with several bags of cat litter, where he had been doing some yard work. He said his ATV is red and has a winch on front and a gun rack o the handle bars. The ATV was valued at $5,000 while the trailer was valued at $250. The case was being referred to Investigations at the Sheriff’s Office.



Camper Stolen

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft of a camper valued at $12,000. Deputy Charles Nations was dispatched to Little Virginia Circle, Fountain Inn at 4:15 yesterday afternoon on a report that a camper had been taken from the lot. On arrival he noted a camper cover and wheel locks that had been left behind between the concrete borders on lot 7 at the property. The owner arrived and indicated she had last seen the 29-foot Jayco camper in November when it was winterized. The Serial number a license plate was to be entered into NCIC.

Car Follows Another, Blowing Horn

Deputy Jeremy McMahan was leaving the Nu-Way store on US 221 in Waterloo at 8:19 yesterday morning when he reportedly observed a silver Pontiac following a white Suzuki very closely with its horn blowing. Curious as to what was going on, he followed the two vehicles onto Riverfork Road and made a traffic stop. Both cars pulled off the road on opposite sides and the man from the Pontiac and the woman driving the Suzuki got out and were yelling at each other. He separated the two and learned the woman had been at the man’s residence on Edgewater Drive and had allegedly taken his wife’s wallet. The woman reortedly indicated she was owned money and had taken the wallet as collateral. Pills and two bank cards were reportedly observed in the seat of the Suzuki. The wallet and contents, valued at $100, were reportedly returned to the wife on Edgewater Drive. The driver of the Suzuki was arrested. 45-year-old Stephanie Diane Case of 476 Gethsemane Circle, Ware Shoals was served with a warrant charging her with Petit Larceny and was also charged with Driving under Suspension. Stephanie “Step” Case was later released on personal recognizance bonds totaling $2,367 on the two charges.

Police Respond to Assist Highway Patrol

Three Clinton Public Safety officers responded to Joanna Code 3 at 5:15 yesterday afternoon to assist the Highway Patrol on a report of a trooper holding a man at gunpoint. Officers reported locating Trooper Peay on East Calhoun Street, but noted the subject was already in custody at that time so assistance was no longer needed.

Trooper Peay issued tickets at 5:17 yesterday afternoon charging 21-year-old John Allen Davis of 501 Brock Road, Honea Path with Reckless Driving and an Uninsured Violation on US 76 in Joanna. Mr. Davis was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing.

“Trespasser” Came Back for the Mustard

Sheriff’s Deputy Nations responded to the Dollar General in Gray Court at 2:00 yesterday afternoon on a report of a Trespassing incident. He was told of a visit yesterday from a Gray Court man who is on trespass notice to stay out of the store. The man had purchased a bottle of mustard. At the time he was advised that he was on trespass notice and was not to be in the store. He reportedly left, forgetting to take the mustard he had paid for. He reportedly returned later to get his mustard, but the manager wasn’t there at the time. The officer observed video of the man inside the store and was to check with a Magistrate regarding a warrant to charge the man with Trespassing.

Bench Warrants Cite Convictions in February and March

The Sheriff’s Office jailed a man yesterday regarding three sentences he’s received in Magistrate’s Court. 28-year-old Joshua Allen Knight of 123 My Way Drive, Gray Court was served three Bench Warrants. One shows a conviction February 21st on a Driving without a License 1st Offense with a sentence of 30 days or $237. Two bench warrants show convictions on March 8th. One on a Public Disorderly Conduct case had a sentence of 30 days or $650 and the other for Driving under Suspension had a sentence of 30 days or $652. Joshua Allen Knight remained in the detention center for the sentences to be served.

1st Degree Burglary

Laurens City Police yesterday arrested a man in connection with an overnight break-in at another house on his street early Monday. 56-year-old Eric Roger Anderson of 107 Vine Street, Laurens was charged later yesterday with Burglary 1st Degree.

Sgt. James Nolen states that an investigation of Officer Andrew Ashley indicates that the defendant committed 1st Degree Burglary on April 18th by entering into an unoccupied dwelling in the night-time hours to commit a crime therein. The defendant allegedly removed property belonging to the victim from the Vine Street residence.

Bond was denied during a court appearance yesterday. Eric Roger “Easy” Anderson remained in the Laurens County Detention Center this morning.

Distribution of Marijuana

Laurens City Police arrested a man yesterday on accusations that he sold marijuana in town last month. 27-year-old Reginald Lewis Todd Jr. of 111 Creamer Street, Laurens was charged with Distribution of Marijuana 1st Offense. Detective Joey Pittman states that Mr. Todd distributed 3.2 grams of marijuana to a confidential informant at an East Main Street location in Laurens on March 28th, 2016. Reginald Lewis Todd Jr. was released on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond pending his day in court.

Anyone Want to Buy a Building?

Laurens County is to advertise a possible sale of the recently vacated county office building off Church Street, adjacent the former Laurens Glass plant. County administrative offices recently moved from there into a new building at Hillcrest Square. The goal of the advertising, as noted during council discussion last week, is an attempt to determine the value of the facility. Reporting out from a committee discussion on the matter, Councilman Stewart Jones last week proposed the county advertise for “Sealed Bids.” County attorney Sandy Cruickshanks noted the term “sealed bids” gave the feel that once the bids were opened, the building would be sold. So after some discussion between council members, Jones modified the motion. During the discussion on the matter last week there was a suggestion that perhaps any sale of property should be the EMS facilities on Exchange Drive, which are more exposed near commercial activity on the east side of Laurens. Some suggested the Church Street building, which decades ago served as the County Health Department, would be a good location for “Medic One,” which is the Laurens EMS facility.

Man Accused of Assaulting a Child

An assault on a child Sunday on Fuller Road, Clinton was alleged in a warrant served yesterday. 58-year-old Clyde Dean Ammons of 1342 Fuller Road, Clinton was arrested by the Sheriff’s Office Sunday and held for charges. A warrant served yesterday charged him with Assault and Battery 3rd Degree. In the warrant, Sheriff’s Sgt. Tucker cites investigation of Deputy Timothy Byrd as indicating that on April 17th Ammons intentionally committed battery on an 11-year-old child by striking him in the back of the head, causing the victim to hit the kitchen counter which resulted in injury with bleeding to his lip. Clyde Dean Ammons was released Monday afternoon on a $1,092 surety bond.

Lower Highway Fatalities

Three people died on South Carolina Highways this past weekend, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety yesterday. A DPS release states that as of April 17th 251 people have died on the state’s highways. That’s down from 270 at this time last year.  171 of the 251 deaths were people in motor vehicles.  35 pedestrians have died on state highways so far this year, up from 34 at this time in 2015. We’ve had 27 motorcyclists killed so far, also up one from 2015. And 9 bicyclists have been killed, up from 8 as of April 17th last year.

With the tragic death of the Newberry County Superintendant of Education Saturday evening, Newberry County has its 1st highway fatality of the year. Laurens County now has 3 highway fatalities for the year, a big improvement from 8 this time last year.

PC Students Present at National Conference

Six Presbyterian College students presented their research at the 30th annual National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) that took place at UNC-Asheville, April 7-9. 4,000 people from over 350 institutions attended the conference. PC students who presented include Ben Cagle from the physics department; Sydney Fontenot, Michael Harris, Gabby Lewis, and Kristen Peagler from the biology department; and Will Hobson from the English department.

Senior biology major Gabby Lewis presented her research,  advised by assistant professor of biology Dr. Suann Yang. The work concerned her analysis of the effect of spent oyster mushroom substrate on seeds with a variation on seed size and seed domestication characteristics. Reflecting on the presentation, Lewis said “It was truly inspiring to be in an environment where each and every area of study was represented. People were learning about new subjects out of pure curiosity. It was refreshing to learn just for the sake of learning.”

Michael Harris, also a senior biology major, presented his research titled “Assessment of the Peer-Assisted Learning Resource Center for Introductory Biology Students at Presbyterian College.” In his research, advised by Yang and Dr. Troy Nash, professor of biology, Harris studied the development of the new peer-assisted Learning Resource Center established on campus last spring.

Harris cites his two advisors, as well as his experience a peer mentor, as two sources of inspiration and preparation for his presentation. “Being a peer mentor in the biology department prepared me to communicate effectively with others, both faculty members and other students, and to conduct necessary research that makes a difference,” he said.

When asked about the importance of undergraduate research, Nash, who accompanied the students to the conference, said, “I very much appreciate the opportunity to work on research projects with undergraduate students because it promotes a sense of teamwork and collegiality between instructors and students. Working on a research project means that instructors and students are acting as colleagues and collaborators with one another to investigate and answer the questions their project is addressing. These sorts of interactions are the backbone of personal and professional bonds that will remain long after the students have graduated from PC.”

“The fact that an institution the size of PC had a relatively large number of students selected to present their work at NCUR is a testament to the atmosphere on campus and the high-quality relationships between faculty and students,” said Nash.

Laurens City Council to Vote on “Executive Regulations”

Laurens City Council this evening is to consider amending “Executive Regulations” regarding special events held on the Laurens Square as well as the Amphitheater and other Public Parks. City Attorney Tom Thompson proposed using ‘Executive Regulations’ to address  the request of allowing people attending the “Sip and Stroll” spring event Downtown to enjoy their wine samples as they go from one participating business to another. The ‘Executive Regulations’ were previously used to allow beer to be sold at special concerts at the Amphitheater.

City Council is to have a 2nd vote on the matter this evening at their April meeting at 5:30 pm.

Both Said No Assault Occurred

Clinton Public Safety was dispatched on a 911-hang-up call at 7:11 last evening. Officer Gandee arrived at a Sloan Street residence and was greeted at the door by the husband, who observed to be red in the face and chest with minor scratches on his chest. He also appeared nervous. The man said no physical altercation had taken place and said he had called 911 because his wife had taken some pills. The wife was also taken aside for a private conversation with the officer. She had minor bleeding from the end of her nose, but also said no altercation had occurred. She also cited an argument with her husband arguing with her about taking the pills, which she said were midol. She indicated he took any drugs he could get his hands on. The man and woman reportedly indicated being unhappy with the other. With neither claiming to have been assaulted, no charges were served.

No Cab Fare. How About Raising Bond?

Laurens County Sheriff’s Deputy Van Pelt responded to a location on Leesville Church Road at 10:44 last night, where a Newberry taxi driver reported he had brought a man from Newberry to Leesville Church Road outside Clinton, only to be told that the passenger didn’t have the $30 cab fare to pay for the trip. The passenger, a 42-year-old  Clinton man, was arrested and a citation for issued charging him with Petit Larceny. He was being held overnight, pending a bond hearing today.

Wires Reconnected, Still Won’t Start!

A Laurens man last evening reported vandalism to his 2001 Nissan. Deputy Noble responded on the call after 7:00 pm. The vehicle owner said he went to Ekom Beach Road Saturday to pick it up the car, which his daughter had been using. On arrival he discovered it would not start, so he had the car towed to his residence. The son-in-law reportedly indicated he had taken the wires from the plugs so his wife, the victim’s daughter, could not drive it, since she doesn’t have a license. He said he left the wires under the hood. The victim said the car is still not operating after he reinstalled the wiring. While a judge was to be consulted, the victim was advised that any costs for towing or repairs would be a matter for civil court.

Another Dirt Bike Stolen from Under Carport

A resident of Narnie Road outside Laurens reported a dirt bike theft to the Sheriff’s Office yesterday afternoon. She said that a Honda dirt bike was taken from her carport between April 8th and 15th. The missing bike was described as a 1979 orange Z-50, valued at $1,000. There was a report this past weekend on another case of a dirt bike stolen from a carport.

Over $10,000 Value Noted in Theft

Sheriff’s Sgt. Jimmy Johnson was dispatched to Sunset Blvd, Clinton around 3:00 Friday afternoon about the theft of money and jewelry valued at over $10,000. A resident said she last saw the lock box containing the items on April 12th. Items reported taken included prescription narcotics valued at $100, assorted silver coins valued at $1,000, other cash valued at $2,330 and various pieces of jewelry were noted that added up to $6,750.