Western North Carolina's central point is Buncombe County North Carolina. We will be updating this site daily with fresh news from the area, and from several points of view. Stay tuned for some of the best info ever.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Asheville Police Department Blotter, Buncombe County

Woman reports first-degree burglary
ASHEVILLE - Asheville police are investigating a reported first-degree burglary that occurred at about 9 p.m. Jan. 16 at a residence on Dorchester Avenue. The victim told police that three men had forced entry into her home, displayed firearms and demanded money. She directed them to her purse, from which they took $75. The suspects were described as three black males dressed in baggy clothing. One wore a long, black, hooded overcoat and the other two had their faces covered. The victim said she was not injured. West District officers canvassed the neighborhood, but did not locate the suspects. The case is under investigation.

Man reports armed robbery
ASHEVILLE - on Jan. 15 1:13 a.m., police were dispatched to the gas station at Amboy Road/State Street in reference to a reported Armed Robbery. The victim, who said he is homeless, told police that he was robbed by two black males behind the gas station and that one of them had a chrome handgun. He then stated that the incident occurred at Pisgah View Apartments. The victim was visibly intoxicated, at one point disrobing in front of officers who were trying to take his statement. The victim then walked away from police before further information could be obtained.

Young promoted to supervisor
ASHEVILLE - Angela D. Young has been promoted within the APD's Communications Unit to the new and challenging position of communications supervisor. Ms. Young grew up in Asheville and graduated from Roberson High School. She has an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Social Services from A-B Tech and has been employed in the Communications Unit since 2004. She has performed numerous roles, including acting supervisor and field training officer.

She was named the department's Employee of the Month for December 2008.

Men arrested on drug charges
ASHEVILLE - Drug Suppression Unit officers on Jan. 13 did a “knock & talk” at 24 Wellington St. in reference to numerous drug complaints by neighbors. This resulted in the arrest of the following men on felony drug charges: Brian Montreal Pickens, birth date 2/14/1985, with Trafficking in Crack Cocaine and Possession of Firearm by Felon; Charles Louis Pickens III, birth date 6/17/1988, with Trafficking in Crack Cocaine; and Brandon Michael Pickens, birth date 2/14/1985, with Possession with Intent to Manufacture, Sell and Deliver.

Officers seized approximately 38 grams of crack, $6,095 in U.S. currency, marijuana, and a handgun.

Robbery reported at convenience store
ASHEVILLE - Police received a report of an armed robbery that occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Jan. 13 at a convenience store located at 491 Sardis Road. The suspect entered the store, approached the counter, displayed a handgun and demanded money. He left the scene on foot. The suspect was described as being either black or Hispanic, about 5' 10" tall, wearing a dark toboggan hat and a dark blue ski jacket. The suspect had a dark mustache. No one was injured.

Man reports robbery after taking ride
ASHEVILLE - At 12:47 a.m. Jan. 14, a man told police that he was robbed at gunpoint on the street near 495 Haywood Road. The man told officers that as he was walking, a vehicle pulled along side of him and the driver, whom he did not know, offered him a ride. The man got into the vehicle and said that the suspect pulled out a handgun and demanded his wallet. The victim complied, and then got out of the car. He was not injured. The suspect is described as a black male, in his late 30s to early early 40s, with a scar on the right side of face. The vehicle was described as a black, older GM type car with dark tinted windows.

2 charged with impersonating law enforcement officers, robberies
ASHEVILLE – Detectives with the Asheville Police Department and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office have today charged two men in several recent cases of impersonating law enforcement and robbery.
The two suspects were posing as plainclothes officers and initiating traffic stops in an unmarked Dodge Charger as a means to rob victims. Charged are:

Jason Everette Allen, birth date 12/22/1981, of Arden, with the following:
Free Text- Felony x 2 (Impersonation of a Law Enforcement Officer)
Common Law Robbery x 2
Financial Card Theft
Simple Worthless Check
Second-Degree Kidnapping x 2
Bond was set at $70,000 secured.

Gregory Neal Hitch, birth date 04/04/1980, of Fletcher, with the following:
Free Text- Felony x 2 (Impersonation of a Law Enforcement Officer)
Common Law Robbery x 2
Financial Card Theft
Second-Degree Kidnapping x 2
Bond was set at $35,000 secured.

The charges stem from the following incidents:
12/25/2008: Lookout Road, Buncombe County
A single male initiated a traffic stop on a female driver who told him that she was calling 911 to verify it was a legitimate stop. The impersonator drove off.

01/07/2009: Wellington Mobile Home Park, Buncombe County
A man was pulling into his driveway at his residence when a white Dodge pulled up behind them and activated blue lights. Two males exited the white vehicle and approached him. The impersonators searched occupants of the vehicle, removed personal belongings, and left the scene.

01/08/2009: Bingham Road, Asheville
Two people were pulling into their driveway at their residence when a white Dodge Charger pulled in behind them. Two males claiming to be law enforcement exited the Dodge and said there was an accident nearby and they needed to inspect the victims’ vehicle for damage. They searched the vehicle and patted down the male occupant before taking personal items and cash and leaving the scene.

Man charged in robberies after fleeing police
ASHEVILLE - A Marion man has been charged in two convenience store robberies that occurred a few minutes apart from each other on the evening of Jan. 11. The first was at the Biltmore Avenue Citi Stop, where the suspect grabbed cash from the register and ran out of the store. The second was at the Citgo, also on Biltmore Avenue, where the suspect also grabbed cash from the register and ran out.

A witness in the second instance was able to give police a description of the suspect's vehicle. Officers later spotted the car, still on Biltmore. The suspect refused to stop for blue lights and drove into Lee Walker Heights, where he finally stopped his vehicle. As officers approached, the suspect got out of the vehicle, but then jumped back in and drove away.

The officers got back into their vehicle and caught up with the suspect again. This time, he jumped out of the car and ran. Two detectives who were in the area saw him run onto the roadway at Southside. They apprehended him after a foot chase.

Arrested was Leon William Jones, birth date 8/15/1983. He was charged with two counts of Common Law Robbery, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Resist, Delay, Obstruct. Mr. Jones was also wanted for a robbery that occurred on Jan. 11 in McDowell County. He was placed under a $28,00 bond.

Detectives investigate first-degree burglary* UPDATED
ASHEVILLE - Asheville police detectives are investigating a reported first-degree burglary of a couple's residence on Sunset Summit that occurred this morning (Jan. 11). Police received a call at 9:43 a.m. that two white males wearing all black clothing and ski masks had entered the residence shortly after the husband left the residence to get breakfast. The two suspects had been dropped off at the scene by a white female driving an older model dark green 4-door Buick with a sunroof. The two suspects entered the house, displayed a handgun, and made the wife lie down as they searched the residence.

The husband returned and both he and his wife were taken to a bedroom and tied up. The suspects took firearms, jewelry, cash, and bank cards. The two suspects left the scene in the couple's gray Subaru Legacy. The man and woman were not injured.

At the time of this posting, detectives are conducting several interviews in the case. Any updates will be transmitted via media release and/or updated on this page.

UPDATED 01/12/2009:

A regional broadcast describing the suspects was immediately sent to law enforcement when the home invasion was reported. Buncombe County deputies quickly responded with information that was later used to positively identify the suspects.

Asheville police took the suspects into custody this morning at the Hampton Inn on Tunnel Road without incident. The majority of the stolen property has been returned to the victims.

Charged were:
--Jessica Starr Thomas, birth date 5/24/1991, of Asheville, with:
First-Degree Kidnapping x 2
Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon x 2
Felony Breaking & Entering x 2
Bond was set at $120,000 secured.

--Blake Fran McGrath, birth date 11/5/1983, of Hickory, with:
First-Degree Kidnapping x 2
Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon x 2
Felony Breaking & Entering x 2
Larceny of Motor Vehicle x 2
Bond was set at $130,000 secured.

--Christopher Matthew Hassell, birth date 7/3/1984, of Leicester, with:
First-Degree Kidnapping x 2
Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon x 2
Felony Breaking & Entering x 2
Larceny of Motor Vehicle x 2
Felony Possession of Cocaine
Served with Outstanding Warrant for Driving While License Revoked
Bond was set at $94,000 secured.

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