5 Participants in Carolinas Cigarette Smuggling Ring Convicted in Charlotte Headed to Federal Prison

From WBT Radio News, January 23, 2013
Five people have been sentenced in federal court in Charlotte for participating in a cigarette smuggling ring operating in North and South Carolina.The sentences handed down Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney ranged from 14 months to 18 years in prison.

The longest sentence, 18 years, was reserved for 35 year old Kamal Zaki Qazah of Columbia, South Carolina, convicted by a jury last February along with 48 year old co-defendant Nasser Kamal Alquza after a week-long trial in Charlotte. Qazah and Alquza, of Mt. Pleasant, N.C., owned businesses through which the co-conspirators laundered their criminal proceeds.

Local, state and federal officials say the smuggling conspiracy trafficked more than 486-thousand cartons of cigarettes in the Carolinas with an estimated retail value of $20-million dollars. It’s believed the cigarettes were stolen in Virginia and Tennessee and then sold to a network of retail businesses and associates at prices far below market value.

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thieves Steal Flags From East Charlotte VFW Post

From http://www.wcnc.com, January 23, 2014

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are looking for thieves who stole flags from the VFW Post in East Charlotte  last weekend.

The flags were stolen off a flag pole in the VFW parking lot at the VFW on The Plaza, according to police.

The thieves also damaged artillery boxes that were part of a parking lot display.

Police are still search for suspects in this incident.

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

North Carolina Troopers Seeking Public’s Help in January 16, 2014 Fatal Accident Investigation

From http://www.wsoctv.com, January 21, 2014

N.C. State Highway Patrol Troopers need the public’s help to find out what caused a deadly accident Thursday night, January 16, 2014 on Interstate 77 in south Charlotte.

CFD: 1 dead in I-77 crash at state line

Troopers said Cathey Bazen’s SUV crashed into a semi-truck near the state line.

Bazen died in the accident and troopers need more information because no witnesses have come forward.

 If you have any information, you can call the North Carolina State Highway Patrol at 1 (800) 572-8765.

Published in: on January 22, 2014 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Offers $10K Reward in Cook Out Restaurant Robberies

From http://www.wsoctv.com, January 22, 2014

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest of a man police think is responsible for the armed robbery of several local Cook Out restaurants.

Police said that on Monday, Jan. 13, at approximately 7:05 a.m., the man fired a gun at the front glass door, shattering it to get inside the Cook Out on Sardis Road North in Charlotte. Once inside, the man demanded money from employees. After taking the cash, he jumped in a vehicle and took off, according to police. Nobody was hurt in the robbery.

Police describe the man as a black male in his early-to-mid 20s, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall, medium build, wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt, a black and white polka dot bandanna across his face and he was wearing gloves. Police said he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Detectives think this crime is connected to the armed robberies of three other Cook Out restaurants in Denver, Indian Trail, and Salisbury in the past month. Detectives with CMPD are coordinating their investigation with those other jurisdictions to identify the robber.

Anyone with information concerning this case or the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

A CMPD source told Eyewitness News that an anonymous business is paying for half of the reward.

Published in: on January 22, 2014 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Charlotte Man Charged with Child Abuse After Baby Breaks Leg on January 19, 2014

From http://www.wcnc.com, January 22, 2014

A three-month-old is recovering from a broken leg after she was brought to Carolinas Medical Center on Sunday.

Alexander Cintron has been charged with felony child abuse after police said the baby suffered a broken leg.

Man charged with child abuse after baby breaks leg

Alexander Cintron

Cintron told police he did not know how she broke her leg, but did say the baby sleeps in bed with him and could have rolled over on her while sleeping.

Cintron is being held at the Mecklenburg County Jail.

Published in: on January 22, 2014 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Man Shot, Killed in Charlotte Home on January 20, 2014

From http://www.wcnc.com, January 21, 2014

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are investigating a homicide after a man was found shot inside a home Monday night.

The shooting happened just after 6 p.m. on Dundeen Street.

Man shot, killed in north Charlotte home

According to police, detectives believe that the victim, Keith Graham, 46, and the suspect knew one another and the shooting was possibly connected to a drug deal.

Graham was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.  Graham’s death is the first homicide investigation for Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in 2014.

Officials say several witnesses were taken to police headquarters to be interviewed.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Says Break-in Suspect Surrenders on January 20, 2014


From The Charlotte Observer by Steve Lyttle, January 21, 2014

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say a man who was the subject of a search has turned himself in.

A police spokeswoman said Jimmy Christopher Brookins, 24, surrendered to police Monday evening.


Charlotte-Mecklenburg police detectives are looking for Jimmy Christopher Brookins, 24, in connection with a Jan. 7 vehicle break-in. They say he has three outstanding arrest warrants. (Charlotte-Mecklenburg police photo.)

Detectives had issued an alert earlier Monday, saying they were looking for Brookins in connection with a Jan. 7 vehicle break-in at the Sports Fitness University, in the 8400 block of North Tryon Street.However, Brookins also had the interest of police because investigators said there were three outstanding arrest warrants out for him.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/01/21/4628760/cmpd-seeks-suspect-in-break-in.html#storylink=cpy
Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 3:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

4 Cook Out Heists, 1 Robbery Method


From The Charlotte Observer By Steve Lyttle, January 21, 2014

Police in four communities across the Piedmont are now involved in the search for what appears to be the same man involved in a series of Cook Out restaurant robberies.

In addition, a Wendy’s restaurant was robbed at gunpoint Monday morning in Charlotte, although it is not clear if that heist was related to the Cook Out cases.


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police released this surveillance video photo of a man suspected of robbing a Cook Out restaurant last week in southeast Charlotte. Police say they think the same man was responsible for the robbery of Cook Out restaurants in Lincoln, Union and Rowan counties. (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police photo.)

Cook Out, a North Carolina-based fast food chain, has been the target of a robber in Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and Rowan counties. The first case was nearly a month ago. The most recent was Saturday.

No injuries have been reported, but police say the robber fired a handgun in at least two cases.

Police say the description of the robber has been similar in all four cases. And the robberies took place around 7 a.m.

The suspect in the cases has been described as a black male, somewhere between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall, about 25 years old. He had shoulder-length dreadlocks. He was wearing black clothing and carrying a blue-and-gray or blue-and-black bookbag. He wore a ski mask to cover the bottom half of his face.

The first case was reported about 7 a.m. Dec. 22 at the Cook Out on N.C. 73 near Stanley.

In that robbery, a man shot out the glass in the rear door, entered the restaurant, and demanded that the manager open the safe and turn over the money.

In that case, Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies said the suspect was driving a red 2012 to 2014 Toyota Camry, either an LE or XLE model.

Then came the Charlotte robbery, on Jan. 13 at the Cook Out on Sardis Road North.

An armed man entered the restaurant and demanded money from employees. He drove off, but employees did not get a description of the vehicle.

The Indian Trail robbery was Wednesday, and the Salisbury case was Saturday. In that robbery, police say, the man once again shot out the window in the door so he could enter the building.

A spokeswoman for Cook Out restaurants did not immediately return a call for information Tuesday.

The Wendy’s robbery was reported about 10 a.m. Monday at the restaurant in the 3500 block of Mount Holly-Huntersville Road. In that case, employees told police the suspect ran off.

There was no word from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police detectives Tuesday if they think the Wendy’s case might be related to the Cook Out robberies.

Anyone with information in the cases is asked to contact Crime Stoppers in Mecklenburg County, 704-334-1600; or Crime Stoppers in Rowan County, 866-639-4245.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/01/21/4628906/4-cook-out-heists-1-robbery-method.html#storylink=cpy
Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

NC Appeals Court Considering Teen Life Sentences Following U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

From The Associated Press, January 19, 2014

North Carolina judges have made conflicting rulings on whether dozens of prisoners serving life sentences for killings committed when they were teens should have a chance at parole after 25 years.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that the state Court of Appeals is deciding the case.

The issue came up when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that some murder defendants sentenced to life in prison without parole for crimes committed when they were younger than 18 should have a chance at parole because they shouldn’t be treated as adults.

The justices didn’t say if the ruling should be applied to 88 teens already sentenced in the state. Judges in Robeson, Buncombe and Davidson counties ruled it should be, while judges in Cumberland and Guilford counties ruled it should not.

Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Armed Robbery at Charlotte Wendy’s Restaurant at 10 AM on January 20, 2014

From http://www.wsoctv.com, January 20, 2014

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said a restaurant manager was robbed at gunpoint Monday morning in Charlotte.

Officers told Eyewitness News that a man wearing a ski mask walked into the Wendy’s on Mount Holly-Huntersville Road just after 10 a.m. and pointed a handgun at the manager and other employees, made them lay on the floor and demanded cash. He then took off on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.

Restaurant manager robbed at gunpoint in northwest Charlotte

Nobody was hurt.

Police think he may have gotten into a vehicle and were using their helicopter to try and track him down.

Detectives think the suspect could be the same man who recently robbed a pizzeria on Freedom Drive.

Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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