Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Westminster Man on Nineteen Warrants

Joshua Scott Ivester

Joshua Scott Ivester

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster yesterday on nineteen outstanding arrests warrants.

31 year old Joshua Scott Ivester of Shanandoah Drive was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 11:50am by a deputy from the Warrants Division.

Scott has been charged with one count of Grand Larceny, nine counts of Breaking Into a Motor Vehicle and nine counts of Petit Larceny in a series of incidents that all occurred sometime between November 5th and November 6th.

According to arrest warrants, Ivester is accused of taking a Red Ez-Go Golf Cart from an address on Bradbury Way in Westminster. The value of the golf cart is around $2,500.

Ivester is also accused of breaking into vehicles in nine separate incidents around the Westminster area and stealing various items, including electronics, sunglasses, tools, keys and cash.

As of 9:45am this morning, Ivester is still in custody at the Detention Center on a combined total surety bond amount of $118,000.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Walhalla Man on Multiple Charges, Including Receiving Stolen Goods

Steven Lee Duncan

Steven Lee Duncan

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Walhalla man over the weekend on six separate charges.

35 year old Steven Lee Duncan of South Maple Street was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 7:01am Saturday. As of 11am this morning, he is still in custody at the Detention Center on a total combined surety bond amount of $28,520 on all charges.

Deputies from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to the Seneca Wal-Mart location on Sandifer Boulevard early Saturday morning in regards to reports of a suspicious person that appeared to be passed out behind the wheel of a pick-up truck in the parking lot.

Deputies made contact with the individual, Duncan, and upon being given consent, conducted a search of the vehicle. Deputies discovered several items in a backpack in the floorboard, which included computer style business checks, blank checks, credit cards, and other checks made out to subjects who resided in North Carolina. Also, cash and other personal documents were discovered as well.

After checking with deputies with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office deputies made contacts with victims in North Carolina who told deputies that the checks were not supposed to be with this subject. The victims told the deputies that they wished charges to be filed against Duncan.

Deputies secured all the evidence and the pickup was towed. The case was then turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division.

Deputies have charged Duncan with four counts of Receiving Stolen Goods and two counts of Financial Transaction Card Theft.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Announces Additional Arrests in Twelfth “Operation Infinity” Drug Round-Up

Michael Ryan O'Connor

Michael Ryan O’Connor

Aaron Raines Catchings

Aaron Raines Catchings

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is announcing additional arrests in the twelfth “Operation Infinity” drug sweep round-up that began last Thursday morning.

The Sheriff’s Office teamed up with our partners from the Seneca, Walhalla, Westminster and West Union Police Departments in this particular phase.

In all, 19 individuals are being sought on a variety of drug charges involving methamphetamine, prescription drugs, and crack cocaine. Some individuals in this drug sweep are being sought on charges of Unlawful Neglect of a Child.

Between noon Monday and 1pm today, two additional individuals have been arrested, which brings the grand total of suspects arrested so far to eleven. Here are the names of the three additional suspects arrested and their charges according to warrants:

1) Aaron Raines Crawford
Seneca, SC
28 years old
Unlawful Neglect of a Child – 1 Count
Booked in on December 8th, 2015
Released from the Detention Center on December 8th, 2015
Personal Recognizance Bond

2) Michael Ryan O’Connor
Seneca, SC
25 years old
Distribution of Ice (Methamphetamine) – 3 Counts
Booked in on December 10th, 2015
Still in Custody as of 2pm today
Total Combined Surety Bond Amount: $30,000

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation and due to that fact, the names of the other individuals being sought will not be released at this time.

Oconee County Solicitors Office Drop Off Site for “Coats For Kids” Program

Coats For Kids Flyer

(Walhalla, SC)—————————The Oconee County Solicitors Office location at the Walhalla Court House is a drop-off location for the “Coats For Kids” program.
Donations will be accepted from now until Friday, January 8th, 2016 or donation items can be picked up via a request.
Items that are needed are coats, gloves and toboggans. These items should be new or gently used and are needed in children, youth and infant sizes.
These items will be available for distribution, free of charge, at the Bi-Lo location at 191 BI-LO Place in Seneca on Saturday, January 9th, 2016 from 10am until 1pm.
For more information, call 864-638-4294.

Oconee County Animal Shelter Announces Winner in Cow Adoption Drawing

Cow Adoption Picture Two

Animal Shelter Director Jaimee Paul, Jane Finfrock and Lt. Mark Lyles

Animal Shelter Director Jaimee Paul, Jane Finfrock and Lt. Mark Lyles

Lt. Mark Lyles and Brittnay Grant

Lt. Mark Lyles and Brittnay Grant

Cow Adoption Picture One

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Animal Shelter is pleased to announce that Jane Finfrock of Salem was the winner in the Cow Adoption drawing that was held this morning.

Jane’s application was among the 150 adoption applications that were filled out by citizens of Oconee County in the past three days. Her name was drawn by Brittany Grant, who is a volunteer with the Oconee Human Society.

Animal Control officers took possession of the cow a couple of weeks ago after an accident investigation on Highway 24 near Westminster in which a couple of vehicles struck a cow in the roadway. The cow that was adopted was the offspring of the cow that was hit. No one ever came forward to claim ownership of the offspring.

Animal Control Officers will conduct a home check of the property before the offspring is released, which should take place soon.

The only cost associated with the adoption is a $200 adoption fee.

The Animal Shelter would like to remind everyone that December is a slow month for adoptions and the Shelter has dogs and cats that are available for adoption and would make wonderful Christmas and holiday gifts. The Animal Shelter encourages you to stop by during normal business hours, 10am until 4:30pm Monday thru Friday and 10am until 2pm on Saturday.

For more information, you can contact the Animal Shelter at 864-888-0221.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Seneca Woman on Unlawful Neglect of a Child Charges

Kayla Michelle Reid

Kayla Michelle Reid

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca woman yesterday on charges of Unlawful Neglect of a Child.

20 year old Kayla Michelle Reid of Lori Jen Lane was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 5:37pm.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division received a phone call the evening of December 1st from an employee from the Department of Social Services in reference to a child that had suffered an apparent skull injury. The child was transported by a family member to Oconee Memorial Hospital for treatment and was later transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital for further treatment.

The case was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Office and the elder and child abuse investigator.

As the investigation continued and evidence gathered and interviews conducted, investigators were able to determine that the child, a fifteen-month old female, suffered a skull injury due to two blunt force impacts that reportedly occurred at the Lori Jen Lane address.

According to warrants, the child was in the care of Reid when the incident occurred.

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation.

Reid is being held as of 2pm today on a $20,000 surety bond.

The child was released from the hospital and has been placed with a family member via DSS.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Continues to Warn Public to be Wary of Scams and Fraud Attempts

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to warn residents to be aware of a few scams and fraud attempts that the Sheriff’s Office has been made aware of.

“The Sheriff’s Office issued a press release earlier this week to warn our citizens of a scam involving individuals calling and stating they were deputies and demanding money to cover fines on bogus federal warrants or those individuals would be arrested,” says Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt. “We were able to get the word out through our internet and social media sites and through our partners in the news media and we are thankful for their assistance to make everyone aware of what was going on.”

“However, we continue to see many of the same scams pop up, including scammers calling claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service and warning citizens that they would be arrested unless they paid up supposed back taxes that were owed,” continues P.I.O. Watt. “The Sheriff’s Office was also notified that some citizens had received a letter from a sweepstakes company claiming the recipient had won money and all they had to do was call a number and provide credit card information to the company to cover certain fees in order to claim their money. I was also notified by one of our Uniform Patrol Deputies this morning that we have had a victim of the real estate scam that has been reported in some jurisdictions. An individual received a call this morning and the caller stated that a family member had been in an accident and would be harmed if the person called did not do what they were told. The victim asked to speak to the family member but soon realized it was not a legitimate call and hung on the caller.”

As mentioned in the press release on Monday, a victim last week received a phone call from someone claiming to be a family member who needed money for bond on a bogus arrest and also for a public defender. The individual sent the money via a prepaid card and later learned that the family member was fine and was not in jail. The victim is out around $9,500.

“The Sheriff’s Office has issued multiple press releases concerning scams and potential frauds and yet we continue to see many of the same issues pop up” continues P.I.O. Watt. “In many cases, it is extremely difficult for any law enforcement agency to prosecute those who are involved and if money is lost, it is virtually impossible to retrieve. We are issuing another press release today to continue our education efforts in the hopes that no one else falls prey to these attempts to rob our citizens of their hard earned money and to hopefully deter these scammers, if possible, from trying to business in Oconee County.”

Many scams and fraud attempts have certain things in common. The Sheriff’s Office wants to emphasize these points to help protect our citizens. Many of these points come from previous press releases we have issued:

• One pretty sure sign of a scam is an individual asking for payment via a prepaid card. If anyone is able to get the PIN numbers from those cards and the money is taken before anyone realizes it is a scam, it is almost virtually impossible to retrieve the money. Also, scammers love to use legitimate businesses, such as Western Union or Money Gram, because of its quickness and availability.

• Law enforcement officers do have the right to arrest individuals with outstanding warrants but officers will not contact anyone stating that arrest warrants will be recalled if someone pays a fine over the phone, in fact, officers do not handle money transactions at all. All fines are taken care of on the judicial level in courts and are not handled by officers.

• If you receive these calls in the future, we encourage you to save all phone numbers and information if you can. Do not give out personal or financial information and do not put any money on prepaid cards. Call your local law enforcement agency to report what has happened and file a case report so an investigation can begin, regardless of the outcome and even if property was not lost.

• Most legitimate businesses will not require payment to be made using a prepaid cards. If a company or business contacts you and says that payment is due and can be made using a pre-paid card, hang up the phone and contact that company or business to inquire about the situation.

• According to an article on the website of the Federal Communications Division (http://www.fcc.gov/guides/caller-id-and-spoofing), “Spoofing” is used by criminals to falsify the number they are calling from or the name of a person in an effort to disguise the actual number they are calling from or the name of the person calling.
Scammers can make it appear that they are calling from your bank, a financial company, a governmental office or a person calling from your local area code. However, those individuals may be calling from a number that is hundreds or thousands of miles away. Due to that fact, it makes it extremely difficult for law enforcement in many cases to trace the call to find out where it originated.

• The Sheriff’s Office always recommends never giving out personal information over the telephone as companies and businesses you deal with have your personal information. If an offer sounds too good to be true, more than likely it is. If you feel uncomfortable in anyway with an offer you receive or you see some red flags, don’t respond in any way whatsoever or ignore it and don’t respond.

• Scammers tend to target seniors more than any other age groups based on financial stability and the fact seniors tend to be a more trusting generation. Anyone, however, can be the target of scams.

• Scammers will in many cases use out of country numbers, such as with the 876 area code with individuals on the line having a foreign accent. Many times it is difficult but not impossible for the Sheriff’s Office to prosecute cases and apprehend those involved in which someone calls from out of the country and not from inside Oconee County itself to perpetrate the scam.

• Never give out any personal information, such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit or debit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, or birthdates to anyone who may ask you for that information over the phone or through regular mail or e-mail.
Institutions should not ask for your personal information, such as social security numbers and routing and transit numbers, because your personal bank, for example, should have that information. If an individual calls from a bank, for example, and says they need to verify your social security number, you should ask for their name and operating number and then call the bank yourself to see if it is legitimate. The bigger banks will normally recognize the number that you call from and they will then ask you to verify who you are by the last four digits of your social security number or your mailing address or zip code.

• Another scamming technique is for individuals to agree to buy something on a website, such as Craig’s List, and then receive a check in the mail. They are asked to deposit the money, keep some of it and then send the rest to another address, for example. In many cases, the checks are no good and the person who deposited the check is responsible to cover the amount of the insufficient funds.

• If the Internal Revenue Service happens to contact you concerning a tax question, they will contact you by mail instead of calling you directly. Also, if someone claims to be calling from the I.R.S. and states that you owe back taxes, hang up and call your tax preparer and/or the Internal Revenue Service to check the validity of the claims as you have the right to appeal.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Announces Graduation of Deputy Garrett Bare from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy; Bare Awarded J.P. Strom Award

From L-R: Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw, Deputy Garrett Bare and Hubert F. Harrell, Director of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy

From L-R: Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw, Deputy Garrett Bare and Hubert F. Harrell, Director of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is announcing the graduation of Deputy Garrett Bare from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and the Basic Law Enforcement Program.

Bare was also awarded the J.P. Strom Award, which is given to the graduate who achieves the highest overall academic average, including the successful completion of all performance tests.

The award was named after J.P. Strom, who was the long-time director of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

“Deputy Bare is the first graduate from the Academy since I have been Sheriff who has received the J.P. Strom Award,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “Deputy Bare’s graduation and the award he has achieved demonstrates our continued efforts to hire the best qualified individuals we can to serve and protect the citizens of Oconee County.”

Bare graduated from Tamassee-Salem High School in 2005 and was hired by the Sheriff’s Office on June 4th but had served in a reserve deputy role since July of last year.

Bare graduated last Friday as part of Basic Law Class 640. He has been assigned to the Bravo Uniform Patrol Shift.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Warns Public to be Aware of Officer Impersonation Scam

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents to be aware of a scam involving individuals calling impersonating an officer.

Deputies recorded four incidents that occurred over the past few days in which an officer called and claimed to be a deputy from the Sheriff’s Office and demanded money from the individuals to help cover fines due to bogus federal warrants that the caller claimed the individuals had. No individual that was called is out of any money, according to investigators and in each case, the caller demanded that money be placed on a prepaid card.

In a separate scam, an individual received a phone call from someone claiming to be a family member who needed money for bond after a bogus arrest and for a public defender. The individual sent the money via a prepaid card and later learned that the family member was fine and was not in jail. The victim is out around $9,500.

“In previous press releases the Sheriff’s Office has sent out, one pretty sure sign of a scam is an individual asking for payment via a prepaid card,” says Oconee County Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt. “If anyone is able to get the PIN numbers from those cards and the money is taken before anyone realizes it is a scam, it is almost virtually impossible to retrieve the money.”

“Also, law enforcement officers will not contact anyone stating that arrest warrants will be recalled if someone pays a fine over the phone, in fact, officers do not handle money transactions at all,” continues PIO Watt. “All fines are taken care of on the judicial level in courts and are not handled by officers.”

“If you receive these calls in the future, we encourage you to save all phone numbers and information if you can. Do not give out personal or financial information and do not put any money on prepaid cards. Call your local law enforcement agency to report what has happened and file a case report so an investigation can begin,” states PIO Watt.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Townville Man on Breach of Trust Charges

Chad Michael Shaw

Chad Michael Shaw

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Townville man last Friday morning on Breach of Trust charges.

32 year old Chad Michael Shaw of Beaver Lane was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 2:14am. He was released from the Detention Center last Friday on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division spoke with the victim by phone on November 21st who advised the deputy that she lent her vehicle, a Toyota Tacoma pick up, to a family member who in turn allowed Shaw to drive the truck. Shaw advised the victim that the pickup would be returned that night but the truck had yet to be returned by November 23rd. The truck was entered into the National Crime Information Center database and a BOLO was issued to surrounding agencies.

The vehicle was eventually recovered along with the suspect, Shaw, in the city of Anderson on Murray Avenue at Greenville Street the morning of December 4th. The owner was contacted and the vehicle was towed. Shaw was picked up by a deputy form the Anderson City Detention Center that same morning and transported to the Detention Center.

According to arrest warrants, the value of the truck is around $5,000.