Robbery Suspects Shot Dead by East Charlotte Pizza Hut Employee

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

By Steve Lyttle
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com

Two suspects were shot to death late Monday night by an employee during an attempted robbery at an east Charlotte pizza restaurant, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say.

Two suspects were shot to death late Monday night by an employee during an attempted robbery at an east Charlotte pizza restaurant, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say. DAVIE HINSHAW ~ dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Another suspect got away and was the subject of an overnight manhunt.

 One employee was injured during the altercation when he was beaten by the suspects, according to authorities.

 The robbery was reported about 11:15 p.m. at the Pizza Hut in the 5400 block of East Independence Boulevard, near Idlewild Road. Police say two employees were in the rear of the restaurant, cleaning up for the night, when three men walked in the front door. The employees told police at least two of the suspects were carrying handguns.

  • NewsChannel 36 Photo

     The suspects ordered the two men back into the cooler, and that’s when the violence escalated, according to investigators.

    When the suspects began beating one of the employees, the other Pizza Hut worker pulled a handgun and started shooting. Two suspects were killed, and the third ran off. One investigator said early Monday morning that it is possible the third suspect was wounded by the employee.

     Police say they found two handguns near the dead suspects. The names of those killed have not been released, while police work to contact their relatives.

     The injured employee suffered significant injuries, paramedics said, and was taken to Carolinas Medical Center. That person is expected to survive.

     Police called in their K-9 dog search unit and canvassed the Independence Boulevard-Idlewild Road-Monroe Road area for much of the night, but without success.

     Investigators are questioning the employee who fired the shots but would not say if any charges will be filed. WBT-Radio is reporting that the Pizza Hut worker who shot the suspects had a law enforcement background.

     No customers were in the restaurant at the time.

     Anyone with information in the case is asked to call detectives at 704-432-TIPS, or they can leave information anonymously with Crime Stoppers, at 704-334-1600.

  • Published in: on September 28, 2010 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board Holding Hearing on the Use of Drug Dogs in Schools

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    By Ann Doss Helms
    ahelms@charlotteobserver.com

    The public can weigh in today on drug dogs in schools, fliers in their kids’ book bags and ethics on the school board.

    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board will hold a first round of public hearings at 6 p.m. on three proposed policies, with more public comment and the board’s votes scheduled for Oct. 12.

    The proposed policies:

    – Authorize dog searches for drugs in schools.

    – Set new rules for what kind of material from outside sources will be distributed to students through schools. Board member Tom Tate said the board wants to make sure staff isn’t distracted by spending too much time printing and distributing handouts from outside groups, and that the public understands what is and isn’t allowed.

    – Outline a school board code of ethics, required by state law.

    Hearings are at the Government Center, 600 E. Fourth St. Sign up on site, or call 980-343-5139 by noon. Read proposals and check the agenda at www.cms.k12.nc.us; click “Board of Education,” then “School Board Meetings and Schedules.” Policies are linked from today’s online agenda.
    Published in: on September 28, 2010 at 10:13 am  Leave a Comment  

    Shot Fired in Robbery of Charlotte Cell Phone Store

    September 25, 2010

    Charlotte, NC (WBTV) – Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are on the lookout for an armed man who they said robbed the T-Mobile store located on the 9000 block of South Blvd Saturday.

    The robbery happened just before 10 a.m. Police said a man dressed in all black fired a shot inside the store during the robbery however no one was hurt.

    Police said the suspect fled the scene in the general direction of Woodlawn Road. Witnesses described the man as being about 6’3 and very muscular.

    Published in: on September 25, 2010 at 2:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Robbers Steal Denali After Tying Up Victims in Home Invasion

    September 22, 2010 by ten8 (www.ten8.wordpress.com)

    From www.wbtv.com

    September 21, 2010

    CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Police are investigating a home invasion which happened in north Charlotte early Monday morning.

    The incident happened around 3:18 a.m. at 4617 Bomar Drive which is off Beatties Ford Road.

    Rico Tionte Harris, 35, told Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers that three suspects kicked in the front door of the home. 

    Once inside, the suspects brandished firearms and demanded money from the victims.

    The suspects tied up Harris and another victim, Carlos Miguel Miller, 35. 

    The suspects then moved three teens – ages, 14, 15, and 17 – from the bedroom to the living room floor.

    None of the five victims were injured, police said.

    The suspects stole an undisclosed amount of cash, a cell phone, and a 2002 GMC Denali with NC tag YTV-1234. 

    If you know anything about this incident, call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

    Published in: on September 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Known Felon Found & Detained Following Report of A Suspicious Person in Stonehaven

    On Monday, September 20, 2010 at approximately 7:30 PM Stonehaven Community Patrol Officer Brian Lutes responded to a suspicious person call from a Stonehaven resident on Valley Haven Drive near Thermal Road.

      The resident said he was inside his home when he noticed what appeared to be a man wearing a ball cap standing outside his front door trying to look into the home through windows at the top of the door. The resident said that he initially thought the person was part of the crew that cuts his grass, but that it would be very unusual for the crew to be there at that time of day so he went to the door to investigate.

      The resident found a black male approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing around 170 pounds, wearing a dark ball cap, below the knee denim shorts, a dark t-shirt, and displaying gold plating on the top front row of his teeth came to his home, knocked on his door, and told him that his father (the bad guy’s dad) had just been in a traffic accident on Independence Blvd. at Sharon Amity causing him to ask for $20 so he could go see his father.

      The resident also reported that the man was acting very nervously, appeared to have a ‘nervous tick’, and after being told that he would not be given any money, left his property walking very fast towards Ashwyn Drive.The resident then observed the man approach a woman who was walking her dog and ask her for money.

      In responding to the Valley Haven Dr. area the SCP checked the surrounding streets and with the resident’s help was able to locate the reported suspicious individual on Thermal Road near Pineburr Road walking toward Monroe Road. 

    At the same time 2 CMPD officers arrived and it was learned that the individual was 36 year-old black male Anthony Lucas, 5 feet 6 inches tall weighing 165 pounds with DOB: 1-27-1974, who was recently released from incarceration for multiple Breaking & Entering charges.

    Arrested Person Image Arrested Person Image 

     According to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office Lucas has been arrested & booked into the Meck. County Jail on the following dates for the following charges:

     9-5-10 Arrested by the CMPD for False Pretense (felony) & Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (misdemeanor)

    4-14-09 Arrested by North Carolina Probation & Parole Agents for a Probation Violation (felony)

    2-1-09 Arrested by the CMPD for Breaking & Entering w/ Force (felony)

    9-27-08 Arrested for a Probation Violation (felony) & Attempted Breaking & Entering (felony)

    9-18-08 Arrested by the Mecklenburg Co. Sheriff’s Office for Injury to Personal Property (misdemeanor)

    10-7-07 Arrested by the CMPD for Driving With No License (traffic), & 2 Probation Violations (felonies)

      In reality, what this guy was doing by knocking on doors and asking for money was trying to determine if people were home. Most likely if someone didn’t answer a particular door he would have kicked in the door and ransacked the house looking for cash, jewels, weapons, and anything he could carry.

    Anyone seeing any person, vehicle, thing, or circumstance that makes them the least bit suspicious should immediately report it to the CMPD by dialing 911 and then notifying the Stonehaven Patrol @ 980-297-8446.

    Published in: on September 21, 2010 at 10:26 am  Leave a Comment  

    Suspect Arrested in Murder of Concord, NC Police Chief’s Daughter

    Police Still Seeking White Chevy Blazer Believed Used by Suspect
    September 20, 2010
    WBT News via www.ten8.wordpress.com

    Niagra Falls, NY – The chief suspect in the murder of the daughter of Concord Police Chief Merl Hamilton has been arrested.

    Michael Neal Harvey

    The FBI and U.S. Marshals arrested Michael Neal Harvey this morning in Niagara Falls, New York without incident for the murder of Valerie Hamilton.

    Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are en route to New York to interview the suspect and work on the extradition process.

    In a statement late Monday morning, CMPD says it wanted to thank the media and all law enforcement partners including: the FBI, U.S. Marshals, Secret Service and the DEA for their assistance with this case.

    Detectives are still looking for the White Chevy Blazer involved with the case. Police say if anyone has seen or knows the whereabouts of this vehicle please call 911 immediately, VCAT at 704- 336-VCAT or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

    Published in: on September 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Search For Murder Suspect in Death of Concord, NC Police Chief’s Daughter Spreading Nationwide

     Murder Suspect Michael Neal Harvey, a Repeat Felon, Was Out On Bond For Multiple Charges When 23 Year-Old Valerie Hamilton Was Killed

    From The Charlotte Observer via http://www.ten8.wordpress.com

     Monday, September 20, 2010

    By Steve Lyttle, Ely Portillo and David Perlmutt
    slyttle@charlotteobserver.com

    Concord, NC police Chief Merl Hamilton took the search for the suspected killer of his 23-year-old daughter nationwide Monday morning, asking a network television audience for help.

    Hamilton, joined by Concord Mayor Scott Padgett, asked viewers of ABC’s “Good Morning America” to help Charlotte-Mecklenburg police catch Michael Neal Harvey, the 34-year-old registered sex offender suspected of killing Hamilton, a college student and youth swim instructor.

    Michael Neal Harvey

    “I just want to get this guy now,” Merl Hamilton said, his voice breaking several times. “I want to ask my law enforcement brothers and sisters across the country to help with this.

    “I’m trying to stay strong. They know what it means, because the cameras are on, but they took my daughter, guys.

    “Play it straight, play it by the rules, but you all get out there and find this guy for me. When it comes back my way, I’ll pay you back.”

    Harvey, thought to be driving a stolen 1996 Chevy Blazer with N.C. license tags ZXE-1756, remains at large Monday morning.

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Deputy Chief Harold Medlock said early Sunday investigators thought Harvey might still be in the Charlotte area, but with nearly 36 hours having passed, the search is widening.

  • Investigators said there were no new developments early Monday morning, and police are asking for the public’s help in locating Harvey or the SUV he is thought to be driving.

    Hamilton’s body was found Saturday night in a storage unit in southeast Charlotte, and police obtained a murder warrant for Harvey, who is on probation and has a lengthy criminal record.

    Hamilton was seen on video surveillance leaving the Thomas Street Tavern in Plaza Midwood with a man early Wednesday morning. She had not been seen or heard from since leaving the restaurant.

    Police have not said what evidence led them to Harvey or to Hamilton’s body, which they found at the Mini-Storage Center in the 4500 block of Monroe Road.

    Harvey already is awaiting trial on several other charges, including breaking into a motor vehicle in Gaston County and drug and firearm possession in Mecklenburg.

    Meanwhile, Valerie Hamilton’s family and friends were left to cope with the death.

    Robin Varner told “Good Morning America” that she and the victim’s other friends are stunned. “We don’t understand how anyone could do this to someone so sweet and so kind.”

    Merl Hamilton told ABC-TV, “She was a good kid. She was a wonderful kid. She lived her life to take care of children. That’s all she wanted to do.

    “She was the perfect daughter, and I miss her, and I need justice for her.”

    Padgett said, “There has been a tremendous outpouring of support from the community. We are all shocked by this.”

    The Hamiltons moved to Concord nine years ago, when Merl Hamilton became police chief. Valerie was 14, always outgoing and athletic. She was a swimmer at Concord High School.

    Her mother and father were dedicated parents, often bringing their two daughters to official events in Concord, Padgett said.

    “Chief Hamilton was and is close to his children,” Padgett said. “He had good relations with them, and checked on them often. He’s very proud of both of them.”

    In an interview with the Observer last Friday, Merl Hamilton said he and his daughters were very close.

    “Valerie and I talk every night,” he said. “We’ve always been close. The last time we talked before she went missing, it was about a homework assignment.

    “She was having problems getting the assignment attached to an email, so she could send it to a teacher. We talked for a while on the phone, and I was able to help her.”

    Speaking of Valerie and her 20-year-old sister, Sarah, Hamilton added, “Those girls are the love of my life.”

    Hamilton released a statement Sunday afternoon that referred to his wife, a teacher, according to his biography on a city website, and Sarah.

    “Susanne, Sarah, and I are surrounded by family and friends at our home, and comforted by the outpouring of support from both those that know us and those that do not in this difficult time of grief,” he said.

    “Miss Valerie,” as she was known to kids, had worked at Little Otter Swim School in southeast Charlotte for about three years, said the school’s owner, John Kirk.

    “She was a wonderful teacher and friend. The kids loved her,” said Kirk. “She was known for singing – and singing loudly – which her kids loved. If a child came in crying, they would not cry for long,” Kirk said.

    More than 50 parents had written on the school’s Facebook page with messages of sorrow by Sunday night.

    Valerie Hamilton’s missing-person case had attracted national attention, from the TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” which added the case to its alerts Saturday.

    Police searched Valerie Hamilton’s Arboretum-area apartment and the neighborhood around Thomas Street Tavern several times in recent days. Video surveillance from the restaurant led police to issue an alert for a man, thought to be in his mid- to late 30s, who was seen with Hamilton early that morning.

    The search apparently moved to an east Charlotte hotel and to a home in north Charlotte on Saturday afternoon and evening.

    Several police detectives visited the Econo Lodge on Independence Boulevard on Saturday evening and interviewed guests. Multiple broadcast reports Sunday indicated that someone resembling Harvey had stayed at the motel late last week but left Friday.

    Police confirmed that Harvey’s home in northern Mecklenburg County was searched sometime Saturday, but he was not there. Police have also contacted Harvey’s friends and relatives in upstate New York, where they said he’s originally from, and asked them to let authorities know if he shows up.

    Auto theft warrants also have been issued for Harvey, police said, although he is not driving Hamilton’s car. That vehicle was found parked near the Thomas Street Tavern.

    According to court records, Harvey was convicted of first-degree sex offense in western New York state in 1996 and served four years in prison.

    He has been in North Carolina at least six years, based on court records. In 2006, he was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender in Mecklenburg and given three years probation. In 2007, he was convicted of drug paraphernalia possession and driving with a revoked license in Iredell County and given 20 days in jail.

    In June 2009, Harvey was convicted of felony larceny and breaking and entering in Mecklenburg. He was sentenced to 21/2 years supervised probation.

    In September 2009, he was convicted of shoplifting in Iredell. He was sentenced to 24 hours of community service, fined $180 and banned from Lowe’s.

    Harvey was arrested twice last March. On March 15, he was arrested in Mecklenburg and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of heroin with intent to sell and possession of a firearm by a felon. Two weeks later, he was charged in Gaston County with breaking into a vehicle and injury to personal property.

    He was released on bond both times and is scheduled to be tried later this month in both cases.

    ABC-TV contributed.

    Published in: on September 20, 2010 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  

    Concord, NC Police Chief’s Daughter Missing; Last Seen in Plaza-Midwood Section of Charlotte

    Anyone With Information About Disappearance or Anyone Seeing an Individual Matching Woman’s Description Should Call 911 Immediately

    Friday, Septembern17, 2010

    By Steve Lyttle
    slyttle@charlotteobserver.com

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police continued their search Friday for a 23-year-old woman who has been missing since being seen early Wednesday morning at a restaurant in Plaza Midwood.

     Investigators returned Friday morning to the Arboretum-area apartment complex where Valerie Hamilton, daughter of Concord police Chief Merl Hamilton, lives. They had searched the same complex Thursday.

    valeriehamilton

    Valerie Grace Hamilton

     Police also released a description of a man who was seen with Hamilton early Wednesday at the Thomas Street Tavern.

     “Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have been doing a fabulous job,” Merl Hamilton said at midday Friday. He declined to elaborate on what investigators had told him, but one officer told WCNC-TV, the Observer’s news partner, police had developed leads that caused them to be more concerned about Valerie Hamilton’s well-being.

     She was seen at Thomas Street Tavern, on Thomas Avenue at Central Avenue, between 12:30 and 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. Her vehicle was found in the restaurant parking lot.

     Family members, friends and employers have not heard from her since.

     Hamilton is attending CPCC in hopes of becoming a teacher and works at a Charlotte restaurant.

     Police say Hamilton is 5 feet 3 and 125 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Police also say she has a distinctive tattoo on the back of her neck – three stars in a horizontal design.

     By checking video surveillance cameras at the restaurant, police were able to provide a description of the man who was with Hamilton. They say he was a light-skinned white male. His hair was short and dark, with some white in it. He was clean-shaven, about 5 feet 10 and 165 pounds. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt and did not have any visible tattoos or earrings.

     He was in his mid to late 30s with no facial hair.

     Anyone with information in the case is asked to call 911 or contact a CMPD detective, 704-432-TIPS. Or information can be left with Crime Stoppers, 704-334-1600.

     WCNC-TV contributed.

    Published in: on September 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

    CMPD Warning Plaza-Midwood Residents About Rash Of Break-Ins

    From www.wsoctv.com

    September 16, 2010

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police are warning residents to be vigilant after six break-ins in the Plaza Midwood area in less than a month.

     Three happened on Thurmond Place and three happened on Mecklenburg Avenue, police said. The most recent break-in happened on Tuesday night.

     Police said electronics were taken from some of the homes.

     Officers are now going door-to-door in the area to warn residents about the rash of break-ins and to ask them to report any suspicious vehicles. Police ask that anyone in the neighborhood sees a suspicious or unfamiliar vehicle write down the tag number and report it to them.

    Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Attackers Crash Through Garage During Home Invasion

    Invaders Used Rock To Smash Glass Door To Gain Entry To Home

    From www.wsoctv.com via www.ten8.wordpress.com

    September 16, 2010

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are searching for three men who crashed through a garage during a home invasion in southeast Charlotte.

     Police said the men smashed through the back door of a home on Dunfries Road at about 2:30 a.m Thursday, while the homeowner was asleep. The men were armed with guns and assaulted the homeowner, officers said.

     The homeowner said the men used a rock to break glass in the back door. They tied him up, the victim said, stole his keys from his pocket and then stole his Range Rover. When the homeowner asked the intruders why he was a target, he said, the men told him that they thought he had money because they saw the vehicle parked in the garage.

     He added that the intruders were wearing masks, so he didn’t get a good look at them.

     The homeowner said the experience was terrifying, especially when the men threatened to hurt his wife and daughter.

     VIDEO: Homeowner Speaks About Home Invasion

    The intruders left in a hurry, police said, backing through the garage door.

     However, the men abandoned the stolen vehicle at the end of the street, the homeowner said, and fled in their own car. The victim said he thinks the men may have arranged for a getaway car to come to the area, because they were on a cell phone during much of the home invasion.

     Police don’t have a good description of the men or the getaway car.

    Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment