45 Arrests Made in Charlotte Area During National Gang Roundup

“Project Southern Tempest is the largest-ever ICE-led gang enforcement operation targeting gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton.

By Steve Lyttle / Charlotte Observer – March 4, 2011

Federal agents have arrested 678 people during a two-month roundup of gang members in Charlotte and several other areas of the country, authorities say.

Project Southern Tempest was conducted from December through February by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit.

The HSI agents worked with local, state and federal law enforcement authorities from 173 departments, focusing on 13 gangs with ties to Mexican drug operations, according to the federal government.

“Project Southern Tempest is the largest-ever ICE-led gang enforcement operation targeting gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton.

Officials say there were at least 45 arrests in the Charlotte area – 16 in Charlotte and 29 in Gastonia. Their gang affiliations included the Asian Boys Crips, Bloods, Collateral, CRIPS, Surenos and Trap Boys.

The government said HSI set up eight task forces – in Charlotte; Baltimore; Birmingham; Dallas; Salt Lake City; San Angelo, Texas; St. Paul, Minn.; and in Honduras. Authorities say these task forces are aiming to the structural leadership of gangs.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials offer these statistics on the 678 people arrested:

They came from 133 different gangs.

447 were charged with criminal offenses.

322 had violent criminal histories.

421 were citizens of other countries.

The government provided background stories on several of those arrested, including:

Andrey Melnikov, 36, a Russian national with legal permanent residence status in the U.S. Authorities say he was involved with the Valleros gang and was arrested in Oceanside, Calif., on auto theft charges. His criminal convictions include possession of a weapon on school grounds and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Shawn Allison, 32, a Jamaican national and alleged member of the Jamaican Posse gang. He was arrested in the Bronx, N.Y., for attempted murder. He has previous convictions for possession with intent to distribute and criminal contempt.

Gustavo Morales, 52, a Mexican national who U.S. agents say was involved with the Boomerangz gang. He was arrested in Reading, Pa., on federal offenses related to narcotics and weapons violations. His criminal record includes a conviction for re-entry into the United States.

Published in: on March 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Violent Crime Rising in Charlotte Schools

By JEFF CAMPBELL / NewsChannel 36 – March 4, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — From gun crime to sex crime, the number of violent acts in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools rose significantly during the 2009-2010 school year, according to a new statewide report.

That report highlighted 1545 incidents in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools – including 534 incidents of weapons possession, 517 cases of drug possession, 40 sexual assaults, 35 assaults resulting in serious injury and 215 assaults on school personnel.

According to CMS, the number of incidents classified as violent acts increased from 62 to 107.  That is a jump of 72 percent from the year before.

Among the other highlights:

Twelve sexual assaults were reported at James Martin Middle School.  NewsChannel 36 has documented several of these cases throughout the last year.  Time after time, middle school girls reported being groped, fondled and sexually battered on school buses either going to or leaving James Martin Middle School.

Myers Park High School had 75 incidents, which is more than any other school.  Most cases at Myers Park involved possession of drugs.

CMS says eight schools were designated by the state as “persistently dangerous schools.”

To view a video news report on this subject click the link below:


Published in: on March 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Possible Bone Marrow Donors Sought For 6 Year-Old Child

Bone Marrow Donor Drive Being Held Saturday, March 5 From 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, 3016 Providence Road, in Charlotte

From The South Charlotte Weekly – March 3, 2011

People are needed at St. Gabriel Catholic Church to help save the life of 6 year old Jordan Jemsek.

Jordan needs a bone marrow transplant due to being afflicted with Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia.

People can get their cheeks swabbed at the bone marrowdrive and register with DKMS, a bone marrow donor center, to be put on the ‘Be The Match Registry’. The organization also needs financial donations.

For more information, visit www.getswabbed.org

Published in: on March 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte Subway Worker Won’t Be Charged in Killing During Armed Robbery Attempt

By Meghan Cooke / Charlotte Observer – March 3, 2011

An employee at a Subway restaurant in northeast Charlotte who shot and killed a robbery suspect in January will not face charges.

Mecklenburg County District Attorney Andrew Murray said Charlotte-Mecklenburg police consulted with his office about the decision.

“We agreed with their decision not to charge because we do not believe a jury would find the use of deadly force was not justified,” he said Wednesday.

On Jan. 17 around 7 p.m., two men armed with handguns entered the Subway restaurant on Sugar Creek Road near the Hidden Valley neighborhood.

They were trying to rob the restaurant, police said, and an altercation began when the employee refused to comply with the suspects’ demands. The employee opened fire, shooting both men.

Jamal Steven McKenith, 20, was found dead not far from the store at the end of the strip mall.

The other suspect, Demetrius Nathaniel Thomas, 19, was injured. He’s been in jail since he was released from an area hospital in January, charged with conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

The employee’s name has not been released, and police haven’t said specifically where the shootings took place.

In 911 calls, two callers reported hearing eight to 10 gunshots, and one said he saw three people outside the Subway along the side of the building, including one lying on the ground.

Both callers said the gun shots seemed to be coming from outside the restaurant.

It was at least the third time in recent months that a store employee has killed a suspect during an attempted robbery.

A Pizza Hut delivery driver was not charged after he shot and killed two 21-year-old convicted felons as they tried to rob a Pizza Hut in east Charlotte in October. The employee shot the suspects with a Glock 22 hidden under his shirt after the suspects hit and pistol-whipped him, he told the Observer.

In June, a masked man was killed after he exchanged gunfire with two clerks at a Sunny Food Mart in Monroe during a robbery attempt, police say. The Union County district attorney decided not to charge the clerks.

Published in: on March 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dropouts Down, Crime Up in CMS

By Eric Frazier And Ann Doss Helms / Charlotte Observer – March 3, 2011

Incidents involving drugs, weapons and assaults in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools rose again last school year, continuing a steady trend of rising numbers over the past seven years.

A new state report released Thursday showed 1,545 criminal or violent acts in local schools for 2009-10. Sixty-seven involved acts of violence. That’s up from 1,298 criminal acts and 62 involving violence the previous school year.

All schools must report 17 types of criminal or violent acts, ranging from drug and alcohol possession to serious assaults and rapes. Statewide, the number of reportable acts rose 4.4 percent last school year.

CMS logged 19 reportable acts for every 1,000 students, compared to about 16 statewide.

Among the notable statistics for CMS:

— 215 assaults on teachers and other staff. That’s up 27 percent, from 169 the previous year.

— 517 drug possession incidents.

— 543 weapons possession incidents (does not include guns).

— Myers Park High had the largest number of reportable acts, with 75. Fifty-one of those were drug possession. Ranson Middle followed with 60, including 17 weapons and 16 assaults on school staff.

— The Morgan alternative school logged the highest rate of crime or violence, with 275 acts per 1,000 students. The Metro School for severely disabled students followed with 123. The highest regular school was Ranson Middle, with 52 incidents per 1,000 students.

In better news for CMS, the report showed its dropout rate declined 17 percent. Dropout rates in Iredell-Statesville and Union County ranked among the state’s lowest. Hickory City schools’ rate ranked among the state’s highest, according to the report.

To see the full report, visit www.ncpublicschools.org/research/discipline/reports. Click on the 2009-10 Consolidated Data Report.

Published in: on March 3, 2011 at 4:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Daylight Charlotte Area Crime Spree Continues as Woman Fights Off Attacker in Walmart Parking Lot

By NewsChannel 36 – www.wcnc.com / March 2, 2011

GASTONIA, N.C. — Gastonia police say a man tried to kidnap a woman outside Walmart Monday morning.

 Police say the attempted kidnapping happened at about 11:25 a.m. in the parking lot of Walmart on North Myrtle School Road.  The woman says the man tried to get into her car, but she fought back and chased the suspect away.

If you have any information that could help track the suspect down, you’re asked to call Crime Stoppers 704-861-8000.

Published in: on March 2, 2011 at 8:58 am  Leave a Comment  

CMPD / Shooting Suspect Standoff Ends Peacefully

By Steve Lyttle / Charlotte Observer – March 2, 2011

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say a brief standoff ended peacefully overnight after a shooting that left one man injured.

According to police, two men got into an argument on Carlyle Drive in west Charlotte about midnight. As one man drove off, someone fired a shot into the back of his truck, striking the driver in the shoulder.

The injured man told police where they could find the person who shot him, and officers went to a house on nearby Highland Street, off Wilkinson Boulevard, a block west of Camp Greene Street.

Police say the man at the house would not come out initially, but the standoff ended with police calling the man and convincing him to surrender and come out. The man was taken in for questioning.

The victim’s injury was not life-threatening, police say.

Published in: on March 2, 2011 at 8:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte City Council Votes To Stop ‘Predatory Towing’

By Steve Harrison / Charlotte Observer – Mar. 01, 2011

The Charlotte City Council unanimously approved changes Monday night to stop what some have called “predatory towing.”

The changes were made after people have complained about tow-truck operators bringing cars to lots outside of Mecklenburg County; of charging what they felt were exorbitant rates; and of towing cars from lots that weren’t clearly marked.

Under the new rules:

– Any towing service that has started to tow a car, must release the car if the owner returns and asks for it to be released. The towing service also must allow people to retrieve their personal property from the car, even if it is in the process of being towed.

– Towing companies must accept cash and at least two major credit cards and any debit card for people to pay their fee.

– Towing companies must have someone on-call 24 hours a day at their storage yard, and they must respond within 15 minutes when someone calls about getting their car returned. The vehicle must be made available within 45 minutes of making the request.

– No towing company can remove a car from a private lot between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. unless the owner or agent of the lot signs a form authorizing the tow.

Tow-truck drivers have complained about the new rules, saying they are too onerous and expensive. They have said they aren’t predatory towers, but that too many people are essentially stealing when they park in a space they haven’t paid for, or where they aren’t allowed to park.

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte City Council Gets Report on Airport Security

March 1, 2011 From http://www.ten8.wordpress.com

By Steve Harrison / Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte/Douglas International Airport will increase staffing for airport police, make “structural improvements” to airport property and enhance its electronic security system, according to the summary of an investigation after the death of Delvonte Tisdale, a 16-year-old who apparently died after he stowed away in the wheel well of a US Airways jet.

Monday night City Manager Curt Walton and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe read City Council a summary of their investigation, which they said couldn’t be released because it was classified by the federal government.

A two-page summary said CMPD found “various locations” where Tisdale might have breached security and gained access to the plane, a Boeing 737-400 headed to Boston on Nov. 15.

The report said the investigation focused on a particular area of the airport “in combination with an identified aircraft,” though it didn’t say what part of Charlotte/Douglas was scrutinized.

The flight to Boston — Flight 1176 — left Charlotte/Douglas on the night of Nov. 15 from runway 18L, which is at the northeast part of the airport, near the Carolinas Aviation Museum, according to the flight tracking service FlightAware.

US Airways employees have told the Observer they believe Tisdale likely climbed inside the wheel well while the plane was taxiing.

CMPD wasn’t able to answer some of the most puzzling questions in the Tisdale case, such as why the North Mecklenburg High student decided to stow away on the plane and how he got to the airport.

The report said investigators did “countless interviews,” reviewed highway cameras, cab and bus manifests and video, and “did not produce any evidence of his mode of transportation.”

CMPD examined airport video surveillance cameras, perimeter fencing and gates, and interviewed airport security personnel. US Airways employees have also speculated that Tisdale climbed over the perimeter fence, which is six-feet high and topped with three strands of barbed wire.

In an interview with reporters after the presentation, Monroe said CMPD knew where and how Tisdale entered the airport, though he declined to elaborate. When asked whether Tisdale might have had help from an airport employee, Monroe declined to comment.

Some U.S. airports have strengthened their perimeter fencing after 9-11 by adding motion sensors, more barbed wire and more video cameras on the perimeter.

Aviation director Jerry Orr, who wasn’t at Monday night’s City Council meeting, has declined to discuss the airport’s existing security. But public documents have said Charlotte/Douglas has more than 300 security cameras throughout the inside and outside of the airport.

The Transportation Security Administration is also investigating the case.
In February, during a congressional hearing on airport security, U.S. Rep William Keating told Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that the Tisdale case “raised enormous concerns about aviation safety.” Keating was the district attorney in Massachusetts who investigated Tisdale’s death in November.

“Clearly if somebody – a 16-year-old – is able to circumvent (our) standards and requirements and get into the wheel well of a plane, there has been a breakdown,” Napolitano said.

After the Norfolk (Mass.) District Attorney said in December that Tisdale stowed away inside a jet from Charlotte, Orr said the airport wouldn’t make any special review of airport security. The next day, the city reversed itself and announced that CMPD would form a task force.

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Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gas Thieves Drilling Holes Into Tanks of Parked Vehicles

By Jeff Rivenbark

FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) – Police are looking for thieves who are stealing gasoline by drilling holes into gas tanks of parked vehicles.

The York County Sheriff’s Office says there have been five incidents reported in the Baxter Village and Bailiwyck areas of Fort Mill.

The thefts are taking place at night. Some of the victims did not realize that someone had drilled into their gas tanks until the vehicle was at a repair shop. 

The incidents have occurred on Camber Woods Drive, Jones Wade Court, Stafford Run Drive, Lower Assembly Drive, and Glenn Allen Way.

Peter Dressel told police between 4 p.m. on Jan. 21 and 10 a.m. on Jan. 22, someone went underneath his gray 2006 Ford F-150 and drilled a hole in the tank. The estimated damage to his truck was about $1,400. The thief stole a half tank of gas valued between $42-$48.

Between Jan. 21 and Jan. 23, someone did the same thing to Ron Pulis’ 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 truck.  Pulis said it cost him $950 to repair the truck.

On Feb. 13, Kevin Knape reported that someone punched a hole into the tank of his 2005 Ford F-150. 

Kathy Tuttle called police on Feb. 14 and reported that as she was filling up her truck at the gas station, she noticed gas was running out from under the vehicle. She took the truck to a repair shop and they advised that it appeared someone drilled a hole in the tank.

Most of the vehicles targeted have been pickup trucks, but James Walters’ 2010 gray Honda Civic was also targeted.

Walters said someone drilled a small hole in the gas tank of his car between Feb. 18 and Feb. 20.  He said it would cost about $1,000 to repair the tank. Walters had the vehicle towed to the dealership to be repaired. 

The sheriff’s office says drilling into a tank filled with gasoline is dangerous and could result in a fire or explosion. If you see anyone acting suspicious around vehicle, you should note the description of the person as well as the license tag of the vehicle they are driving.

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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