Charlotte Elementary Teacher Wanted on 26 Counts of Indecent Liberties With a Child

From WBTV, August 18, 2016

An elementary school teacher in Charlotte who was accused of inappropriately touching several young boys and assaulting them during a camp that he held at his home over the summer is facing more charges after police say three more alleged victims came forward.

Taji Brown, 29, is now being sought by police on the additional 26 warrants, which include 13 counts each of indecent liberties with a child and indecent liberties with a student.

According to warrants, an investigation into Brown began in late July when a 10-year-old boy told his mother that Brown inappropriately touched him in the shower while he was spending the night at Brown’s home.

Brown reportedly ran a program called “G.U.D.B.O.Y.S.” (Gentlemen Understanding Destiny By Overcoming Your Statistics), which was supposed to be a mentoring and summer program, from his home.

Anyone with information on Brown’s whereabouts is asked to immediately call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Taji Brown, 29, is now being sought by police on the additional 26 warrants, which include 13 counts each of indecent liberties with a child and indecent liberties with a student.

Brown is a 5th-grade teacher at Billingsville Elementary School. Charlotte-Mecklenburg School officials told WBTV earlier in August that Brown, who has been with CMS since 2011, was currently suspended with pay.

According to a search warrant, Brown’s home along Pebble Creek Way was searched by police on August 7.

During a press conference the following afternoon, police said Brown had been arrested by the Mobile Enforcement Team and charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a child and two counts of indecent liberties with a student.

Investigators said they were aware of 7-8 juveniles who attended Brown’s summer camp but said they were working to learn if more boys took part in the camp.

According to warrants, an investigation into Brown began in late July when a 10-year-old boy told his mother that Brown inappropriately touched him in the shower while he was spending the night at Brown’s home.

Brown reportedly ran a program called “G.U.D.B.O.Y.S.” (Gentlemen Understanding Destiny By Overcoming Your Statistics), which was supposed to be a mentoring and summer program, from his home.

Anyone with information on Brown’s whereabouts is asked to immediately call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on August 19, 2017 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Report: Violent Crime Is On The Rise in Charlotte

From The Charlotte Observer By Jane Wester, August 15, 2017

You’re less likely to be a victim of property theft in Charlotte than you were in 2016, but police have seen a worrying increase in violent and gun-related crime, according to the most recent statistics available from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

The biggest jump, by far, is in the murder rate.

Between March and June 2017, Charlotte’s homicides increased 113 percent compared to the same period in 2016.

“Of course we’re not satisfied with that number,” Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said. He said the department has seen particular increases in types of homicide that are hard to suppress – those that involve domestic violence or arguments. Police have said people are too quick to bring out guns to settle disputes.

CMPD hasn’t classified any of the 2017 homicides as gang-related.

 Domestic violence-related homicides have already reached the mid-teens, compared to nine in all of 2016. Two married couples have been killed together. In both cases, the suspect is a relative.

More than 30 percent of Charlotte’s homicides this year are still unsolved.

The city has also seen increases in other types of violent crimes. Rape is up by about 20 percent, from 138 between March and June 2016 to 165 in the same period this year.

Estes said CMPD sees many cases in which the victim and suspect connected on social media before meeting in person. He said about 85 percent of victims and suspects are known to each other.

On crime overall, Estes pointed out that police have made some progress – aggravated assault fell by almost 5 percent, residential burglary decreased by 10 percent and overall larceny and larceny from vehicles declined.

“However, we’ve seen some increases in areas that are concerning to us,” Estes said.

Along with the jumps in murder and rape, robbery increased by about 8 percent, and car theft went up, too.

The third quarter of the year is already halfway complete, but Estes said it’s too soon to predict whether crime will continue to increase. If homicides continue to happen at the same pace for the rest of 2017, Charlotte will see a year-end total higher than any since the early 1990s.

Published in: on August 16, 2017 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Seeking Public’s Help in Identifying Fraud Suspect

From WBTV.com, August 15, 2017

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are working to identify a man linked to financial fraud.

Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

The man is accused of using a victim’s personal information to open multiple credit card accounts. The cards were used at various stores in Charlotte, Pineville and Concord.

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

Published in: on August 16, 2017 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Surge in Crime costing CMPD in Overtime for Officers

From WBTV.com by Colleen Harry, August 16, 2017

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say so far in 2017 the department has seen an increase in violent crimes and that increase is costing the city.

“No matter what it takes for us – hours it is, how much lab time, what kind of leverage we have to bear, we’ll do that to make sure we investigate every single incident fully,” said Deputy Chief Jeff Estes. “For us, when you get an increase in crime particularly like homicide that does require us and the officers to work extra hours. The detectives to put in extra hours. Of course that costs money in funds for overtime.”

WBTV checked overtime costs for the department.

Police officials say between January and June of 2017, the overtime costs for the Violent Crimes Division was $203,835. Those numbers are compared to $175,803 for all of 2016.

“The chief is adamant that we investigate these cases and we do so quickly and thoroughly and to the best of our ability,” Estes said.

We also checked overtime for the entire department. Between January and June 2017, CMPD says the department had $2,255,612 of overtime. The total overtime for the entire department last year was $2,760,746.56.

On Wednesday, during the weekly press briefing, the department released the crime stats for the second quarter.

Police say at the end of June, property crimes decreased by nearly six percent and violent crime increased by less than one percent, which is compared to the same time last year. 

Compared to the end of June 2016, CMPD says there were:

  • 47 homicides {57 total for the year}
  • 982 robberies reported compared to 911, which is nearly a eight percent increase
  • 165 rapes were reported compared to 138. That’s an increase of nearly 20 percent. Investigators say “85 percent of those cases are the parties are known to each other prior to the instances that are taking place.”
  • 1983 aggravated assaults were reported compared to 2077 at the end of June 2016. Police say that’s around a five percent decrease.
  • Burglary has increased so far this year.
  • Total larceny cases have decreased by around nine percent
Published in: on August 16, 2017 at 9:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Searching for Suspect in July 25, 2017 Double Murder

Suspect possibly traveling in a 2017 black Honda CRV with NC license plate: PAS-9116

From WBTV.com, July 28, 2017

The manhunt continues for a man wanted in the killing of two people in north Charlotte.

Previous mugshot of Vurnel Smith Jr, 40. (Source: Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office)

Vurnel Smith Jr., 40, is being sought after 65-year-old Jacquline White-Gordon died at a north Charlotte home and 69-year-old Rufus Gordon was later found dead in the trunk of a car.

According to neighbors, White-Gordon and Gordon were Smith’s fiance’s parents.

According to unserved arrest warrants at the courthouse in Mecklenburg County, in addition to two counts of murder Smith is also being charged with kidnapping, first-degree forcible rape, and assault causing serious bodily injury.

The warrants say the crimes were committed on July 25, 2017.

A police source told WBTV that Smith allegedly held his fiancé captive over days and was sexually assaulting her.

Thursday morning, the woman managed to get out of the house. Police said she drove herself to the hospital and said there may be more victims at the house.

Officers say they responded to an assault with a deadly weapon call at a home in the 9000 block of Red Clay Lane around 4:40 a.m. Thursday. That’s where they found Gordon-White, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gordon was found dead inside the trunk of the car the fiance drove to the hospital.

CMPD identified Smith as a suspect hours after the incident was reported. Smith, who police say is “dangerous,” is possibly traveling in a 2017 black Honda CRV with NC license plate: PAS-9116.

People in the community say Smith and his fiance moved in a couple of months ago, and his fiance’s parents arrived after.

Smith was charged with first-degree sex offense and first-degree rape in 2015, but those charges are pending. He was also convicted of driving while impaired in 1997.

Anyone with information on Smith’s whereabouts is asked to call 911 immediately, or detectives at 704-432-TIPS. The public can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on July 28, 2017 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD: Flasher Targets Young Girls and Their Grandmother at Arboretum Taco Bell

From http://www.wcnc.com by Savannah Levins, July 28, 2016

Police are looking for a man they say flashed two young girls and their grandmother Tuesday.

The indecent exposure happened at the Taco Bell at the Arboretum Shopping center in South Charlotte. Shoppers were horrified to hear about the incident.

“This is a beautiful area to have people like that disturb the community I think it’s ridiculous,” said shopper Nick Abate.

We went through police records and found several indecent exposure reports filed from the Arboreturm shopping center.

One just last month, in early June. “That’s gross that’s not cool at all,” Abate said.

Shoppers say they hope this isn’t becoming a trend yet again.

In 2014 over a span of just 4 weeks, three different women reported a man exposing himself to them, also in the presence of children. All at Arboretum.

A flasher struck again in March 2016, at the Arboretum Barnes and Noble.

If you know anything about the suspect in this latest case, you’re asked to call Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department or crime stoppers.

© 2017 WCNC.COM

Published in: on July 28, 2017 at 8:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Illegal Alien Charged with Arson, Attempted Murder in Apartment Fire Set for Revenge; 130 Left Homeless on Charlotte’s East Side

Information From Breitbart.com by Bob Price, July 25, 2017

An illegal alien from Mexico sits in the Mecklenburg County jail after allegedly setting fire to an apartment complex to get revenge on an ex-girlfriend. The fire left 130 residents homeless.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police arrested Jesus Reyes Lopez, 20, after he reportedly started a fire at the Woodscape Apartments in Charlotte, North Carolina late last week. The fire damaged 40 apartment units and drove 130 people from their homes, the Charlotte Observer reported.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office uncovered Lopez’s immigration status utilizing equipment and training provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the 287(g) program. The program allows access to ICE databases to aid in identifying illegal immigrants and other possible security threats. Sheriff Irwin Carmichael told the local newspaper this program makes both his staff and the community safer. ICE officials placed an immigration hold on the Mexican national to prevent him being released back into the community.

Lopez now faces two counts of attempted murder, arson, and damage to property by use of an incendiary device, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department posted on its Facebook page.

Sheriff Carmichael praised the 287(g) program. He said that information obtained by utilizing federal immigration resources has uncovered illegal aliens wanted for felony child abuse, murder, and possessing a weapon of mass destruction.

Residents of the apartment complex were lucky to escape the fire with their lives. Some families jumped from second and third story windows to escape from the fire.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross is working to find homes for the 130 displaced residents.

The fire, allegedly started by Lopez, reportedly started to target his ex-girlfriend and then got out of control. Officials estimated the fire caused more than $1.3 million in damages.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

Published in: on July 26, 2017 at 8:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monroe Road McDonalds Evacuated After Man with Heroin Laced with Fentanyl Passes Out in Bathroom

From WSOC TV, June 21, 2017

A man was found Tuesday on the bathroom floor at the McDonald’s at Monroe Road and Sardis Road North in southeast Charlotte.

A 911 caller told police that the man had passed out on the floor. The man, later identified as Kristopher Anderson, had heroin mixed fentanyl, police said.

McDonald’s was evacuated and the Charlotte Fire Department’s Hazmat unit along with CMPD’s Clandestine Laboratory Response Unit responded to the scene.

More than 10 grams of the suspected heroin was seized.

Anderson was treated at Presbyterian Hospital and was released. He was charged with trafficking heroin.

The McDonald’s will remain closed to the public until it is decontaminated by a private company hired by them, police said.

Published in: on June 21, 2017 at 9:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

After Charlotte Killing, Police Warn: Be Careful When You Buy or Sell on Craigslist

From WBTV by Jane Wester of the Charlotte Observer, June 21, 2017

The brother of a man killed in Charlotte this week faced cameras Tuesday, nearly breaking down as he begged the public for any information on his brother’s death, which is still unsolved.

Zachary Finch, 21, died Sunday. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police refused to directly connect his death to a sale made through Craigslist or a similar site, but other news outlets have reported that he was meeting someone to complete an online sale.

Zachary Finch, who pitched for his college baseball team, was shot in Charlotte on Sunday. Police are investigating his death as the city’s 42nd homicide of 2017. (Jane Wester | Charlotte Observer)

CMPD Sgt. Susan Manassah said Finch was engaged in a legal activity, but she wouldn’t provide more details.

In her advice about how to stay safe, Manassah focused on in-person meetings that follow a digital connection through a buying and selling service such as Craigslist or a dating app.

She said to meet in a public place where both parties feel comfortable, and to cancel the meeting if the other person isn’t willing to meet somewhere safe. Like other police departments, CMPD welcomes using the parking lots of police stations for the meetings.

“Tell people where you’re going, what it is you’re doing,” Manassah said. “If it’s too good to be true, then it’s not real.”

Finch’s older brother Nicholas called him loving and bubbly – a team player devoted to his baseball team at Kentucky’s University of the Cumberlands, where he pitched on a full scholarship.

“He always motivated everyone around him,” his brother said.

Finch was studying public health, with one year left to go before graduation.

Finch’s parents moved to the Charlotte area from south Florida a couple of years ago, and their three children attended college in different states. The family was planning to get together for the first time in months for the Fourth of July.

Nicholas Finch refused to comment on why his brother had come to the west Charlotte apartment complex where he was shot on Sunday.

Manassah called Charlotte’s rising homicide rate “senseless,” and said what happened to Finch could have happened to anyone.

She said police are especially eager to gather information from any possible witnesses because Finch was shot at about 1:30 on a Sunday afternoon.

“There’s windows, there’s parks, there’s kids playing. People were outside,” she said.

Published in: on June 21, 2017 at 8:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Begins Summer Initiative to Help Fight Crime

From WBTV by Coleen Harry, June 21, 2017

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say they’re implementing a plan to better fight crime as summer gets underway.

“This organization is committed to fighting crime and preventing crime,” Chief Kerr Putney said during the department’s weekly press briefing. “We need the community to step up and assist us.”

The Summer Initiative

CMPD plans to extend the workday. Chief Putney says the department will use money from a federal grant to cover overtime costs.

The Chief says officers can sign up to for overtime and work in areas of the city that are ‘hot-spots’ to help fight crime and do community engagement.

The department is also expanding bike patrols and walking beats.

Chief Putney says he wants officers to be in high pedestrian traffic areas so they can be visible and help people feel safer. The department believes foot and bike patrols help prevent crime, give high visibility, and officers are able to move around more.

“It’s being able to truly know your community and those who are in it. So you know who goes and stand out,” Chief Putney said. “And the other big thing is people feel safer and more comfortable when they can approach you and have that conversation. It’s about the humanistic element to it but the preventive, high visibility is really what we’re after.”

The numbers

CMPD says so far this year, the department has had 46 homicides.

  • 34 of the victims knew their killers.
  • 11 of this year’s homicides were domestic-related.
  • 8 were robbery-related.
  • 7 stemmed from arguments.
  • Another 7 were drug-related.
  • Police say about half of the victims were between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • 37 of the victim were black.
  • 34 of the suspects are black.
  • 17 of the suspects have previous arrest charges.
  • 2 of the suspect this were previously arrested for murder.
  • 34 of the cases involved a gun.

CMPD says violent crime is trending down compared to the start of the year.

The chief is hoping the summer initiative will be an added value for communities.

“The goal is city-wide. Right now we’re moving for the summer but the goal is always city-wide,” Chief Putney said. “Lots of areas conducive to the type of foot patrol and we’re going to implement them as we bring on more resources.”

Published in: on June 21, 2017 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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