Crime Stoppers of Oconee County, Inc. Announces Donation from BASF Corporation

Sheriff's Badge

Crimestoppers Logo

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————Crime Stoppers of Oconee County, Inc. and the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office are announcing today a recent donation made to the Crime Stoppers Organization by BASF Corporation.

The donation, in the amount of $500, will go into the Crime Stoppers general account fund, which will be used to pay rewards for tips that are called into Crime Stoppers that lead to arrests in Oconee County and for the purchase of promotional materials.

The donation was made from the BASF donation fund.

“Crime Stoppers of Oconee County, Inc. is a 501-c-3 organization and does not receive any taxpayer money or money from any law enforcement agency in the county for its operations,” says Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt, who is the Sheriff’s Office Coordinator for Crime Stoppers. “Without the support for those in Oconee County who contribute financially to our fund raisers each year or who provide donations, such as the one BASF gave us recently, we would not be able to have the resources necessary to help law enforcement have the availability of Crime Stoppers to help in the solving their cases.”

“Therefore, we are grateful for this wonderful donation from BASF Corporation to Crime Stoppers,” continues P.I.O. Watt. “BASF Corporation is a great partner with law enforcement and with Crime Stoppers here in Oconee and they are committed, just as we are, to help make Oconee County a safe place to live, work and play.”

Two Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Graduate from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy

From L - R: Uniform Patrol Deputies Caitlyn Pope and Ike Lewis

From L – R: Uniform Patrol Deputies Caitlyn Pope and Ike Lewis

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–On Friday, May 6th, two deputies from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office graduated during commencement exercises at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.

Deputies Caitlyn Pope and Ike Lewis have begun work as Uniform Patrol Officers. Pope will be working on the Alpha daytime shift and Lewis will be working on the Delta Shift nighttime shift.

Pope graduated from Anderson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services in 2014. She is currently finishing up course work to obtain a 2nd undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice while also working to obtain a Master’s Degree in Leadership Management. She worked previously as a Pharmacy Technician and also with helping children with special needs. She was hired by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office in October of 2014.

Lewis graduated from Seneca High School in 1998 and worked for the Seneca Fire Department from 2006 until he was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in of October of 2014. Lewis also had stints with Westminster Fire and with Oconee Fire and Rescue and is trained as an Emergency Medical Technician. He is currently enrolled in the Fire Science program at Columbia Southern University.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Warns Public to be Aware of Family Member Arrest 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 recent family member arrest scam.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division spoke with a complainant by phone on April 19th regarding a scam phone call in which the victim says that someone called claiming to be the victim’s grandson stating that he had been arrested. The called told the victim to purchase $6,000 in I-Tunes cards and to call him with the pin numbers.

The victim purchased the cards. According to investigators, a majority of the money is now gone and it appears that the call was placed to the victim from outside the United States.

“This is a scam that we have seen before and due to the fact that many scams originate from outside the United States, it is almost impossible not only to recover any money lost but also to prosecute those responsible,” according to Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt. “With those factors in mind, the Sheriff’s Office feels that the best course of action we can take is to educate our citizens not to fall for these scams as a way of fighting those who try to take advantage of the emotions of our citizens and steal their hard earned money from them.”

In a separate scam that the Sheriff’s Office issued a press release on last year, 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 was out around $9,500.

“The Public Information Office has issued numerous over the past three years and one sure sign of a scam is an individual asking for payment via a prepaid card,” continues P.I.O. Watt. “As we have said on multiple occasions, 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.”

“It should be noted that 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. You may also want to file a case report with the law enforcement agency of your jurisdiction so an investigation can begin and due to the fact that financial firms and companies may require one so an investigation can begin if they choose to initiate one,” states PIO Watt.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Recognizes Law Enforcement Officers Appreciation Week

County Council Picture Proclamation

Peace Officers Memorial Day – May 15th, 2016

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–This week, May 15th thru May 21st is Law Enforcement Officers Appreciate Week and the Sheriff’s Office is recognizing this week and its importance to the law enforcement community.

Back on Tuesday, May 3rd during its regular monthly meeting, the Oconee County Council issued a proclamation proclaiming yesterday, Sunday, May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day. Back in 1962, by proclamation by the late President John F. Kennedy, May 15th is recognized as the day in which the United States honors those law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. Council directed all flags at county buildings to be flown at half-staff yesterday.

Also as part of Law Enforcement Officers Appreciation Week, the Sheriff’s Office is hosting the Annual Schuck Memorial Blood Drive 2016 from 11am until 7pm tomorrow at the Law Enforcement Center at 300 South Church Street in Walhalla.
T-Shirts will also be sold during the blood drive, with sizes S-XL being sold for $10 each and 2x and 3x sizes being sold for $12. Also, orders will be taken during the blood drive for “Honor The Fallen” afghans, which are being sold for $38 each.
The Blood Connection will be sending two buses this year to reduce waiting time.
The proceeds from the annual blood drives goes towards the Schuck Memorial Scholarship, which goes toward tuition support for a high school student in the law enforcement program at the Hamilton Career Center who plans to continue their education at a college or university in a degree program that can be used in a law enforcement career.
The Blood Drive is held in honor of Deputy Bill Schuck who passed away in the line of duty in the early morning house of February 7th, 2010 after being pinned between his patrol vehicle and a tree on a dirt road off of Highway 11. Schuck served with the Sheriff’s Office for 2 years and before that with the West Columbia Police Department for 2 years.
As a side note, on Wednesday, May 25th, the Sheriff’s Office will be hosting its 3rd Annual Retired Officers Appreciation Luncheon from Noon until 2pm.
Any retired local, state, tribal or federal law enforcement officers who currently reside in Oconee County are welcome to attend this luncheon, which will be held on the second floor of the Law Enforcement Center at 300 South Church Street in Walhalla.
This luncheon is for reserved guests only, so for more information or to RSVP, please contact Tonya Massey with the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4117.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Townville Man and Woman Early Sunday Morning on Stolen Vehicle Charges

Carley Deann Austin

Carley Deann Austin

Robert Jeffrey Hughes

Robert Jeffrey Hughes

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Townville man and woman early Sunday morning on Stolen Vehicle charges.

22 year old Carley Deann Austin and 21 year old Robert Jeffrey Hughes, both of Oak Knoll Drive in Anderson County, were booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 1:27am and 3:59am respectively.

Deputies from the Uniform Patrol Division and the Criminal Investigations Division observed a red 2006 Ford F-250 pickup on Highway 24 early Sunday morning matching the description of one that had been stolen the previous day from a location on Dairy Farm Road near Westminster whose information had been entered in the National Criminal Information Center database.

Deputies attempted to initiate a traffic stop at Tiger Paw Drive at Highway 24 but the truck in question would not pull over and a pursuit began. The vehicle turned onto Hunt Road and then turned off the road into a field, going through several rows of fencing, which did estimated damage in the amount of around $15,000. Deputies observed the vehicle trying to get onto Babb Road but the occupants of the vehicle fled on foot.

The male subject, later identified as Hughes, tried to gain access to a large knife on his person as he was being placed under arrest; however, Hughes was placed under arrest without further incident. A holster for a pistol was also located on the person of Hughes; however, Hughes told deputies that the pistol had fallen out during the time he fled on foot. Meanwhile the second occupant and passenger, identified as Austin, was apprehended as well.

Both subjects were transported to the Oconee County Detention Center on Temporary Custody Orders until warrants were obtained later Sunday.

An arrest warrant charged Austin with Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. As of 12:30pm today, she remains in custody at the Detention Center on a $25,000 surety bond.

Arrest warrants obtained against Hughes charge him with Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol, Failure to Stop for a Blue Light, Driving under Suspension, Malicious Injury to Personal Property, Resisting Arrest with a Deadly Weapon, and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.

As of 12:30pm today, Hughes remains in custody at the Detention Center on a combined total surety bond amount of $95,652.50. A hold has also been placed on Hughes by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

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

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Announces New Litter Initiative T.E.L.L. Kobie

Sheriff Crenshaw - TELL Kobie PC (1)

Sheriff Crenshaw - TELL Kobie PC (2)

Sheriff Crenshaw - TELL Kobie PC (3)

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–During a press conference that was held at the Law Enforcement Center on Wednesday May 4th, Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw announced a new litter initiative in partnership with the Keep Oconee Beautiful Association.

The Sheriff’s Office distributed business sized cards to the news media during the press conference that features the Keep Oconee Beautiful Association mascot Kobie and the words that explains the new initiative T.E.L.L. Kobie, with the words T.E.L.L. standing for “Together Eliminate Litter Locations.”

“With this new app, citizens can report these activities via their smartphone or computer,” says Sheriff Crenshaw. “We have gone so far to have some cards made up. Citizens can go to this app using the QR code on the cards or on their computer and give us a location and a description of what is there and the report will go to our Environmental Services Officer, Corporal Brandon Meadows. With this report, Corporal Meadows can then go out with inmate labor and pick up the litter and trash in this location.”

Citizens can go to the Sheriff’s Office website at www.oconeelaw.com and click on the Report Litter link. From there, citizens can fill out a short form to report sites in the county where illegal dumping is going on or other locations where litter is a problem. Those citizens reporting this information will remain anonymous and all information given is confidential and for law enforcement eyes only. By scanning the QR code via a smartphone, the code will automatically take someone to the website. The website was designed by the Sheriff’s Office at no cost to taxpayers. There is also a link on the Sheriff’s oconeelaw.com website that will take someone to the litter reporting page.

According to Sheriff Crenshaw, the idea of T.E.L.L. Kobie was something that he has been thinking about for a while as something that could better help identify littering locations, especially for those who are traveling down the highways and roads in the county. Sheriff Crenshaw recommends that individuals pull off the roadway to a safe location before sending the report and not to file a report while driving. Also the Sheriff’s Office is asking citizens to provide as much information as they can and to try to be specific as possible when providing the location and the type of trash or litter at that location.

Also as part of the continued litter initiative, inmate labor will continue to be used as it has been over the past couple of years and with this new tool, Sheriff Crenshaw stated that inmate labor for picking up litter can be extended into the winter months.

Sheriff Crenshaw anticipates that turn around between a litter report being filed and pickup time should be around one week but may take longer depending on the call volume.

“Litter is one of those problems where it takes the whole community working together to clean up and this initiative is one of those ways in which we work together to achieve that,” says the Sheriff. “I do believe that problems with litter can lead to other crimes or could convince suspects that those areas could be easier targets for crime so we all have a stake in seeing the litter problem eradicated in Oconee County.”

The business sized cards are available for pick-up at the Law Enforcement Center at 300 South Church Street during normal business hours, 8:30am until 4:30pm, Monday – Friday or from deputies from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Featured This Morning as a HIS Hero

Nina McKee and Captain Jeff Underwood - 2014 Life Saving Award

Nina McKee and Captain Jeff Underwood – 2014 Life Saving Award

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–Earlier this morning as part of the “HIS Hero” weekly series which pays tribute to law enforcement officers, HIS Radio honored Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sgt. Nina McKee during the HIS Radio Morning Show.

As part of the promotion, HIS Radio asked their listeners to share stories of how law enforcement officers were making a positive impact in the cities and communities they serve, which includes going above and beyond what their job duties prescribe.

Sgt. McKee was nominated and a crew from HIS Radio interviewed Sgt. McKee last Friday for the segment that aired this morning.

Sgt. McKee initially began her duties as a certified officer at the Sheriff’s Office as a Uniform Patrol Officer in 2013. She later was promoted to Corporal and became the School Resource Officer at West-Oak Middle School. Earlier this year, she was again promoted to Sergeant and became a property crimes investigator in the Criminal Investigations Division.

Sgt. McKee is also a member of the Sheriff’s Office Dive Team as well as a negotiator with the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team.

A focus of the feature this morning was the Life Saving Award that Sgt. McKee received in July of 2014 for her actions in late February of 2014 in response to a call for service concerning a woman who suffered an accidental gunshot wound to the leg. Sgt. McKee used her tourniquet kit to stop the bleeding after the accident.

To view the story on Sgt. McKee and the other officers that have been featured so far, visit the website at http://www.hisradio.com/pages/his-hero/

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Westminster Woman on Financial Identity Fraud Charges

Kayla Marlene Hendricks

Kayla Marlene Hendricks

Travis Charles Clardy

Travis Charles Clardy

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster woman Thursday evening on Financial Identity Fraud Charges.

32 year old Kayla Marlene Hendricks of Sunshine Circle was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 10:27pm. She remains at the Detention Center as of 9am this morning awaiting a bond hearing.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division was dispatched to speak with a complainant on March 3rd in reference to suspicious financial transaction activity in which a family member of the complainant was the victim. The activity involved multiple credit cards with the combined balances on the cards totaling thousands of dollars.

The case was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division. As the investigation continued and evidence was gathered and interviews conducted, it was determined that Hendricks, along with 36 year old Travis Charles Clardy of W. Pine Grove Road in Seneca, had used the cards without permission of the victim. Also, a credit card had been opened in the victim’s name without the victim’s permission. All of this occurred while Hendricks and Clardy stayed at the victim’s residence.

Clardy was served with his warrant on April 20th while incarcerated at the Detention Center on unrelated charges. He was released from the Detention Center on May 9th. His surety bond amount on the Financial Transaction Fraud warrant was $5,000.

Honoring Law Enforcement Through Blood Donation

The Blood Connection

Release Courtesy of Donna Erhlich
The Blood Connection

The Blood Connection Recognizes National Police Week,
Asking for Donations to Remember the Fallen

Piedmont, SC (May 11, 2016) — Law enforcement officers have a duty of the highest honor. They serve our communities and investigate danger with a near-instant readiness that protects our way of life. Community blood donors also serve, saving the lives of patients being treated for cancer, undergoing surgery or needing emergency care after a traumatic event. In honor of National Police Week (May 16-20) The Blood Connection will join law enforcement agencies to pay tribute to the courage of the many law enforcement officers whose lives have been taken in the line of duty.

“We hope every eligible donor will give the gift of life next week as we honor law enforcement in our communities,” said The Blood Connection President and CEO Delisa English. “We thank law enforcement agencies that keep our communities safe and protect the freedoms we enjoy. We also appreciate our blood donors who give with the same spirit of service and sacrifice as the fallen we honor.”

Following is a list of times and locations for law enforcement blood drives that will take place in the community next week.

Monday, May 16:
8 am – 4 pm Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, 216 Law Enforcement Road, Pickens
8 am – 4 pm Greenwood Police Department, 520 Monument Street, Greenwood
1 pm – 6 pm Anderson Police Department, 401 South Main Street, Anderson
2 pm – 7 pm Newberry Wal-Mart at 2812 Main Street, Newberry
3 pm – 7:30 pm Boiling Springs Wal-Mart at 4000 SC-9, Boiling Springs

Tuesday, May 17:
7 am – 4 pm Greenville Law Enforcement Center at 4 McGee Street, Greenville
11 am – 7 pm Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 300 South Church, Oconee

Wednesday, May 18:
11 am – 7 pm Laurens Wal-Mart at 922 East Main Street, Laurens

Thursday, May 19:
11 am – 7 pm Asheville Goodwill at 1616 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC
11:30 am – 4:30 pm Easley Police Department at 220 Northwest Main Street, Easley
11:30 am – 4:30 pm Union Wal-Mart at 513 N Duncan Bypass, Union
2 pm – 7 pm Greenville Wal-Mart at 1451 Woodruff Road, Greenville
3 pm – 7:30 pm Greer Wal-Mart at 14055 East Wade Hampton Blvd, Greer

Friday, May 20:
11 am – 4 pm Spartanburg Library at 151 South Church Street, Spartanburg
11 am – 7 pm Simpsonville Wal-Mart at 3950 Grandview Drive, Simpsonville
1 pm – 6 pm Travelers Rest Police Department at 6711 State Park Road, Travelers Rest
3 pm – 7 pm McCormick County Administration Center, 610 South Mine Street, McCormick

In addition, donors can honor law enforcement by donating blood at any of The Blood Connection’s donation centers in Greenville, Seneca, Greenwood, Spartanburg, and Easley, South Carolina. Donations can also be made at TBC’s donation center in Hendersonville, NC.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation that designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day. The week in which that day falls is also known as National Police Week. Every year during police week, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers gather in Washington, DC to take part in a number of events designed to pay honor to those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. In Greenville, the Upstate and Western North Carolina, The Blood Connection holds blood drives annually to honor and remember law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as the family members, friends and fellow officers left behind.

To donate blood, donors must be at least 16, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. Sixteen year olds must have written parental permission.

“Every two seconds someone needs blood, and every blood type is needed,” said English. “Remember, it’s only through the lifesaving gifts of community blood donors that we can ensure a child celebrates another birthday, that a mother sees her children grow up, and that a patient can beat cancer.”

About The Blood Connection
Founded in 1979 in Greenville, SC, The Blood Connection (TBC) is the largest independently managed, non-profit community blood center in the region. It recruits donors and collects blood within an 8,390 square mile area of South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. In South Carolina, TBC supports Greenville, Spartanburg, Union, Pickens, Oconee, Greenwood, McCormick, Laurens, and Newberry Counties. In Georgia, TBC supports Stephens County. In 2011, The Blood Connection expanded into Western North Carolina and now serves Polk, Buncombe, Transylvania, McDowell, Macon and Henderson Counties.

Licensed and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, TBC collects blood from donors through bloodmobiles, portable field units, and fixed donation sites. It holds approximately twelve blood drives every day and collects over 120,000 units of blood, platelets and plasma each year to connect volunteer blood donors, hospitals, and patients needing life-saving transfusions. For more information, visit thebloodconnection.org.

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OMH Golf Tournament for Shop With a Hero Set for May 27th

Shop With a Hero Flyer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————GHS Oconee Memorial Hospital EMS will be hosting the upcoming “OMH Golf Tournament for Shop With a Hero” on May 27th at Oconee Country Club in Seneca.
Registration for the tournament will begin at 8am with a 9am shotgun start. The cost per person for a 4-man team is $60.00 ($240.00 for a team). The format will be a Captain’s Choice format. Mulligans and Red Tees will also be sold.
Prizes will be awarded for the top two teams in each flight and a meal will be provided following the tournament.
All proceeds will directly benefit underprivileged children from the SC Foster’s Association in Oconee County via the Shop With a Hero organization.
For more information, contact Tara McGowan at 864-238-9809 or via e-mail at twhitehead@ghs.org. You can also text the work HERO to 63975 to field your team for the tournament or to get more information.
The rain make-up date for the tournament is Friday, June 3rd.