Woman Assaulted, Robbed in Parking Deck at South Park Mall in Broad Daylight

From WBTV by Alex Giles, April 20, 2017

Police are investigating after a woman was reportedly assaulted and robbed in the parking deck at South Park Mall.

The incident happened around 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, 2017 in the parking deck outside Nordstrom. The victim, a 56-year-old woman, said a man hit her in the face and stole multiple items.

“I’m at the mall at two o’clock in the afternoon, going to my car, and I’m just blindsided.I was literally sucker-punched,” explained the woman.

(Alex Giles | WBTV)

(Alex Giles | WBTV)

According to the police report, the items that were stolen, including a diamond ring, car keys, purse and sunglasses, were worth several thousand dollars.

The woman said she never saw the attack coming.

“I saw people getting into their cars as I was approaching my car. I was totally aware of my surroundings and this came out of nowhere. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it,” said the woman.

Police said the robber then left in another vehicle toward Barclay Downs Drive.

No description of the robber has been released.

South Park management released this statement Thursday regarding the incident:

 The safety of our guests and mall employees is always our top priority. We continue to work proactively to ensure a safe and secure shopping environment at SouthPark.  SouthPark has a close working relationship with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and we collectively employ visible and behind-the-scenes security measures, including a 24-hour active patrol of the center and surrounding parking lots, use of CCTV, use of Segways and escorts to vehicles upon request.

The victim still has scratches and bruises from the incident. She said she is lucky to be alive, but is worried about her personal safety now.

“It’s scary as Hell that this is what’s happening and that you can’t feel safe. I can’t feel safe going to the mall.”

To see a video report about this incident use the link below:

http://www.wbtv.com/story/35194369/woman-assaulted-robbed-in-parking-deck-at-south-park-mall

Published in: on April 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

African-American Man Charged with Fire, Hate Crime Blamed on “White America” at Charlotte Store

Information and Photographs from twcnews.com, April 7, 2017

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have made an arrest in the case of a storefront being set on fire last week in east Charlotte.

Police say 32-year-old Curtis Flournoy, an African-American, has been charged with burning a building of trade, malicious damage by use of an incendiary material, felony breaking and entering, ethnic intimidation and anonymous or threatening letters.

The fire, which was contained mostly to the front door, happened Thursday at Central Market on Albemarle Road, which is owned by a refugee and immigrant from Bhutan. A rock was also thrown through a glass door panel.

A note left by the door read: “We need to get rid of Muslims, Indians and all immigrants.” It was signed “White America.”

The owner of the store, Kamal Dhimal, said he feels more secure now that a suspect is behind bars and he’s impressed by how quickly police worked.

“Yes, I’m surprised because he might be to blame. Anyhow, the police did it. CMPD… did a great job and I love their activities,” said Dhimal.

Dhimal also said some good things have come from the incident. He said someone left flowers at the front door as a show of support.

He hopes to reopen the store soon.

Published in: on April 9, 2017 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Seeking Public’s Help in Locating Man Wanted for Attempted Murder, Other Crimes

From http://www.wbtv.com, March 10, 2017

A man is wanted for multiple violent crimes in the Charlotte area.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say 29-year-old Christopher Crittenden is wanted for attempted murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery, felony breaking and entering, damage to property and interfering with an electronic monitoring device. 

Crittenden (Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department)

Crittenden was court-ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device as a condition of his pretrial release. Police say Crittenden cut off the device Friday.

He was last known to be near the Walmart on N. Tryon Street. Crittenden is described as being around 5’11” and 205 pounds.

Anyone with information on Crittenden’s whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the Violent Criminal Apprehension Team at 704-336-VCAT.

Published in: on March 10, 2017 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Landscaping Scammer Hitting Local Neighborhoods

From http://www.wcnc.com by Ty Chandler, March 3, 2017

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police detectives want to talk to a landscaper who’s business practices seem to put green in his pockets but leaves his customers high and dry.

Police have six reports dating back to 2015, connected to Mark Autrey for swindling customers out of cash. Four of the cases are active and happened since December, primarily in the Dilworth neighborhood.

“He’s quite good at conning people,” said a woman who doesn’t want to be identified. “He does good work at first, so everybody trusts him.”

She says she purchased boxwood plants from him. Since he had made good on a sale to her employer, she says she didn’t think this would be a risky purchase.

“I was in the market for them and I told him yes and we agreed on a price, which was very reasonable,” she recalled.

The woman says Autrey asked her for a $100 deposit, that she reluctantly gave.

“He took the check and immediately cashed it, then he never showed up on the first delivery date,’ she said.

The woman says Autrey missed the second, third and fourth delivery date, also. Eventually, she says he stopped taking her calls.

“I’m pretty ticked off, yeah, and kicking myself for not knowing better,” she said.

Autrey has allegedly operated several different businesses, including Corner Stone landscaping. The company has an “F” rating on the Better Business Bureau website. One complaint claims he swindled a customer out of a $1,400 deposit for work never done.

“He’s just a real lowlife and he needs to be stopped,” she declared.

CMPD ask anyone with information about Autrey’s whereabouts, or if you have been a victim of a landscaping con, to contact them.

Published in: on March 4, 2017 at 11:49 am  Leave a Comment  

ATM Skimmers Found at Various Locations in Charlotte

From http://www.wcnc.com by Xavier Walton, March 3, 2017

Scammers are on the prowl in the Queen City.

In the last 24 hours, police have discovered two ATM skimmers in the Charlotte area. One was found at an extremely popular shopping center.

“Makes me feel a little worried,” said Justin Marshall, a Charlotte resident. “Obviously you work hard for your money and the chance of someone else being able to use it is kind of a scary thought.”

As we are all creatures of habit, things like ATM’s have become part of our modern financial lives. Now more than ever, criminals are finding new ways to get their hands on your hard-earned money.

On Thursday, March 2, 2017, police pulled two electronic skimming devices from local First Citizen Banks. One at the Park Road Shopping Center location and the other was on Alleghany Street. These skimming devices were designed to read banking or credit card information.

“It’s very scary,” said Jessica Hahn. “I would never think there would be a piece of technology that could steal my information when I go to the ATM.”

Skimmer scam artists are banking on consumers dropping their guards. Better Business Bureau says consumers have to be aware of what they are sliding their credit cards into and not just assume it’s safe.

“From what I’ve seen of this device, good luck detecting that this is anything but the real thing,” said Tom Bartholomy with the Better Business Bureau.

Sadly, this isn’t anything new for the NC Department of Agriculture. Inspectors searched and found a couple of skimmers last April. One device was found at a Kangaroo Express gas station on Fairview Road across from SouthPark Mall.

 

Published in: on March 4, 2017 at 11:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Woman Charged with Breaking Into 4 Homes, 2 of them in Stonehaven

From Fox 46, February 7, 2017

A local woman has been arrested after police said she broke into four homes across Charlotte.

Lisa Swinson, 40, is charged with four counts of felony breaking and entering, four counts of larceny after breaking and entering, and three unrelated warrants.

Photos courtesy of CMPD

CMPD said the first break-in occurred at 10:34 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 in the 6800 block of Valley Haven Drive. The home’s residential alarm went off and when officers arrived on scene they found damage to the front door.

About ten minutes later, officers were notified of another alarm activation at a home in the 7000 block of Valley Haven Drive. Officers immediately responded and determined that this home had also been broken into. CMPD began to canvass the neighborhood to determine if there were any witnesses.

At 11:27 a.m., a witness called 911 and reported a breaking and entering in progress in the 1800 block of Summerhill Drive. The caller said that a woman was breaking into the home and the provided a detailed description of her and her vehicle.

While officers were responding to the scene, they located a silver Suzuki Forenza that fit the description of the suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop near Independence Boulevard and Wallace Road. 

The driver, identified as Lisa Swinson, was positively identified and arrested on scene. Officers located stolen property inside the vehicle and transported her to the Independence Division team office where she was interviewed by detectives.

During the interview, Swinson confessed to breaking into several homes Tuesday morning and taking the property. Detectives also determined that Swinson broke into an occupied home Tuesday morning in the 6300 block of Thermal Road.  During the break-in, an elderly woman was home and didn’t realize someone was in her house.

While searching the vehicle, detectives found a purse belonging to a woman and were able to locate her at her residence in the 6300 block of Thermal Road. The woman told officers she spoke to Swinson on her back porch who said that she was helping corral the victim’s dog who got out. The woman advised she did not realize that Swinson had entered her home and took several items.

Detectives also located stolen property from a larceny from vehicle that occurred on June 30, 2016 in the 3800 block of Ayscough Road and a larceny from vehicle that occurred on July 26, 2016 in the 6800 block of Morganford Road.

Additional charges will be forthcoming, police said.

Anyone with additional information concerning these cases or the suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

CMPD said the first break-in occurred at 10:34 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 in the 6800 block of Valley Haven Drive. The home’s residential alarm went off and when officers arrived on scene they found damage to the front door.

 

Published in: on February 7, 2017 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Guns, Drugs and Assaults on Staff On Rise Again in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

From The Charlotte Observer, January 31, 2017 by Ann Doss Helms

The number of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students caught with drugs and guns at school rose in 2015-16, as did the number of assaults on school staff, a new state tally of school crime and violence shows.

The state requires public schools to report 16 criminal acts, which range from rape and assault to possession of drugs, alcohol and weapons. The vast majority of reported incidents, in CMS and across North Carolina, are nonviolent.

The report being presented Wednesday to the state Board of Education shows incidents in CMS are above state averages and rising, even when growing enrollment is factored in.

9.4 criminal/violent incidents per 1,000 students in CMS last school year

6.6 acts per 1,000 students statewide

5.3 acts per 1,000 students in Wake County schools

3 acts per 1,000 students in Mecklenburg charter schools

CMS officials said Tuesday the numbers reflect a community where violent crime is rising, a school system that puts extra officers in schools and a school culture that encourages students to report potential dangers.

In 2015-16, CMS reported 10 guns confiscated and 15 students charged with their possession, the highest level since 2007-08. The numbers are on track to be even higher in 2016-17, with 11 guns confiscated during the first semester.

“I’d sure rather be getting a tip” that leads to confiscation of a weapon, Superintendent Ann Clark said. “I certainly don’t want guns on our campus, but I’m grateful that our kids are willing to step forward.”

The state’s rate of reported incidents per 1,000 students dropped from 6.89 in 2014-15 to 6.62 in 2015-16. Meanwhile, the CMS rate rose from 8.3 to 9.4 per 1,000 students, with a total of 1,371 criminal or violent acts logged last school year.

School resource officers and campus security guards are “very aggressive in documenting the incidents,” while other districts often have fewer security staff in schools and may file fewer reports, said Lisa Mangum, Deputy Chief of CMS Police.

But Annette Albright, one of the CMS employees who was assaulted by students last year, says the problems are real and even under-reported.

“There were staff that were afraid of students,” said Albright, who lost her job as a behavior modification technician at Harding High when she was hit by students after she tried to get stragglers to go to class. Cellphone video of the brawl went out on social media, and four students were later charged.

In Wake County Public Schools, the only district larger than CMS, the rate of all incidents dropped from 5.9 to 5.3 per 1,000 students.

Mecklenburg’s charter schools, which are public schools run by independent boards, reported much lower rates of crime and violence, averaging 3 acts per 1,000 students for the 26 schools located in the county.

In charter schools, as in CMS, reports varied widely by school. Lake Norman Charter School, a large and highly regarded north suburban school, had a rate similar to CMS. Sixteen of the 26 charter schools reported no incidents, as did 52 of 164 CMS schools.

The North Carolina General Assembly mandates the report, which also looks at suspension, corporal punishment and dropout rates, because crime, violence and discipline problems detract from academic success. In some cases, the report says, education officials can improve education by making schools more safe and orderly.

“Sometimes correlations occur not because one factor causes another, but because an underlying factor causes both,” the report continues, citing factors such as poverty and family conditions.

CMS leaders say the problems may come from the wider community, but others are helping with solutions, too. Marion Bish, executive director of student services, said Mecklenburg County commissioners have provided money to have mental health counselors from outside agencies – including one that serves Spanish-speaking families – stationed in 95 schools. All schools do formal assessments when students threaten to harm themselves or others, and therapy for the student and family can be provided at school.

“Younger and younger children are presenting with trauma,” Bish said. “We are the first line of seeing it and responding to it.”

The tally can include incidents that have little or nothing to do with school safety. For instance, the state’s only death at school by other than natural causes was reported at Lawrence Orr Elementary in east Charlotte. It involved an adult found shot to death on the playground at night; no one associated with the school was involved.

Guns at School

With 15 reported gun possessions, CMS accounts for far more than any other district. Second was Robeson County schools with six. Wake County, the state’s largest district, found only one gun.

CMS schools with guns reported were Myers Park High (three students); Butler, Garinger and Rocky River high (two students each) and one student each at Ardrey Kell, Hough, Mallard Creek and West Charlotte high schools and Northridge and Ridge Road middle schools.

Assaults on Staff

Assaults on school personnel rose in CMS and across North Carolina.

Assaults with weapons or assaults that cause serious injury are reported separately, whether the victims are students or employees. CMS reported two assaults involving weapons but no serious injuries, at West Charlotte High and Reid Park Academy, a K-8 school. The West Charlotte incident “involved a student and staff member” and the Reid Park incident came from “an altercation between two students,” Chief Communications Officer Kathryn Block reported.

A fist fight at Vance High that sent a student to the hospital led to three students being charged with assault causing serious injury.

For CMS, the total of 301 assaults on employees was a three-year high, though there were more during the three school years before that, when the district was smaller.

Wake reported only 46 assaults on staff. Cumberland County had 210, and because it’s roughly one-third the size of CMS, that’s a proportionally higher rate.

Lincoln Heights Academy, a CMS alternative school for students with severe behavioral and emotional disabilities, accounted for 49 of the CMS staff assaults. Others with the highest numbers were Sterling Elementary with 22; Garinger High, Northeast Middle and Piney Grove Elementary with nine each; and Lebanon Road Elementary with eight.

CMS officials say they’re training school employees in cultural competency, which can help head off student anger and frustration, and in techniques to deescalate conflict so it doesn’t lead to physical force. Metro School, which serves students with severe physical and mental disabilities, has traditionally logged high numbers of staff assaults, but dropped to three this year. District leaders cited that as an example of successful decisions that reduce lashing out.

At Sterling, CMS reported that one-third of the 22 reports involved one student, and one involved a parent who assaulted an employee.

Albright, the former behavior technician at Harding, says CMS needs to do more to support staff. The confrontation that led to her assault near the end of last school year came after students refused to disperse and Albright’s call for backup went unanswered, according to a letter from Albright’s lawyer and another from an assistant district attorney who reviewed CMS police reports.

The letter from lawyer Michael Elliot to CMS says Albright had raised “potential security issues” and slow responses from security several times before the June incident. She has filed a complaint with the state Department of Labor.

Drugs Lead the List

Possession of controlled substances – a category that includes illegal drugs and unauthorized possession of prescription drugs – account for the largest number of offenses in CMS and statewide. State numbers ticked down slightly over the previous year, while CMS’ tally rose from 534 to 624, the highest number since the state began tracking 15 years ago check.

The total for CMS, the state’s second-largest district, was more than first-place Wake (310) and third-place Guilford County (278) combined.

The CMS police department bought a drug-sniffing dog last year, which began doing random school searches this school year. Officials say that could lead to even more cases in 2016-17, though they hope his presence will deter students from bringing drugs on campus.

[READ MORE: CMS says students asked for drug-sniffing dog]

[READ MORE: CMPD: Crime up 10 percent in Charlotte-Mecklenburg in 2015]

CMS schools with the most reported drug possessions were Garinger High (50), West Mecklenburg High (47), Rocky River High (41), Independence High (33), Butler High (30), Mallard Creek High (28) and Hopewell and Myers Park high (26 each).

Less Lethal Weapons

Possession of weapons other than firearms – for instance, knives and BB or pellet guns – were the second-largest category in CMS and statewide. The CMS total was virtually flat, with 319 in 2015-16 and 315 the year before, while state numbers dropped significantly.

The CMS total was similar to that of Wake County, which had 310 reported weapon possessions.

CMS schools with the most weapon possessions were West Mecklenburg High (18), Rocky River High (15), Garinger High (14), Harding High (13), Mallard Creek and West Charlotte high (12 each) and Myers Park and South Mecklenburg high (10 each).

Highest Rates in CMS

These are the CMS schools with more than 25 total criminal or violent incidents reported per 1,000 students in 2015-16. Lincoln Heights Academy and Turning Point Academy are small alternative schools that serve students with behavioral issues.

Lincoln Heights: 490 per 1,000

Turning Point: 70.1 per 1,000

Garinger High: 44.4 per 1,000

Sterling Elementary: 39.9 per 1,000

Rocky River High: 38.3 per 1,000

West Mecklenburg High: 37.6 per 1,000

Martin Luther King Middle: 36.3 per 1,000

Harding High: 30 per 1,000

Hopewell High: 29.9 per 1,000

Eastway Middle: 28.5 per 1,000

Martin Middle: 26.4 per 1,000

Source: N.C. Department of Public Instruction

 

Published in: on February 2, 2017 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Seeking Public’s Help in Identifying Suspect in January 29, 2017 Armed Robbery

From http://www.wbt.com, February 2, 2017

CMPD detectives with the Armed Robbery Unit are requesting the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect responsible for an attempted armed robbery that occurred on January 29 at around 11:45 p.m. at the Food Mart in the 2700 block of Freedom Drive.  Employees advised officers that an unknown black male, wearing all black, had attempted to rob the business at gunpoint and then fled on foot towards Enderly Road.

The suspect is described as approximately 5’8” and 180 lbs.  He was last seen wearing a black hoodie, black pants with grey sweatpants underneath, blue gloves, and white, black and blue shoes.

This same suspect is responsible for the armed robbery of a store in Pineville earlier Wednesday morning.

Anyone with information concerning these cases or the suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.  To learn more about the Crime Stoppers mobile app, please visit http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/. For additional information about this incident, please refer to CMPD report number 20170129-2342-01.

Published in: on February 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Seeking Public’s Help in Locating Fugitive

From http://www.wbt.com, January 31, 2017

Davon Montae Davis is Wanted for Robbery with Dangerous Weapon, Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, Possession of Firearm by a Felon, Damage to Property, and Interfering with an Electronic Monitoring Device.

Davon Montae Davis – CMPD file photo

Davis was court ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device as a condition of his pre-trial release.  On January 30, 2017, Davis cut off his electronic monitor and was last known to be in the area of 303 E. Trade Street, Charlotte.  Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Davis should immediately contact the Electronic Monitoring Unit at 704-432-8888, option #3 or call 911.

Published in: on February 2, 2017 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Seeking Public’s Help in Identifying Suspect in January 31,2017 Armed Robbery

From http://www.wbt.com, February 2, 2017

Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Armed Robbery Unit are requesting the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect responsible for an armed robbery from a business.

On January 31, shortly after 9 p.m., University City Division patrol officers responded to the CVS, located at 10515 Mallard Creek Road, in reference to an armed robbery from business.  Upon arrival, employees advised officers that a black male had robbed their store at gunpoint of prescription drugs.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6’ tall, thin build, with a long goatee and was last seen wearing a long sleeve dark t-shirt and dark jeans.

Anyone with information concerning these cases or the suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.  To learn more about the Crime Stoppers mobile app, please visit http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/. For additional information about this incident, please refer to CMPD report number 2017-0131-2104-01.

Published in: on February 2, 2017 at 5:09 pm  Leave a Comment