Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Westminster Man on Assault and Battery, Child Neglect Charges

Tracey Shane Prater

Tracey Shane Prater

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster man early this morning on two charges, including one for Unlawful Neglect of a Child.

40 year old Tracey Shane Prater, who resides at an address on Highway 59, was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 7:15am. Prater has also been charged with Assault and Battery – Third Degree.

Deputies from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to reports of a fight at the Highway 59 address early this morning. As the investigation began and evidence was gathered, deputies learned that Prater had assaulted a male at the incident location. The male was located a short distance away from the incident location.

Prater was placed under arrest by deputies. As the investigation continued, deputies learned that an 11 year old child was located in the residence which deputies described as a storage building converted into a house.

Deputies, once inside the residence, discovered unhealthy and unsanitary conditions inside of the home and placed the child into emergency protective custody and notified the Department of Social Services, upon which an employee of the agency responded to the scene.

Prater was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center on a temporary custody order until warrants were obtained today.

Prater remains in custody at the Detention Center as of 3:30pm today as he awaits a bond hearing.

The charge of Assault and Battery – 3rd Degree is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of not more than 30 days in jail and/or a fine of not more than $500.

The charge of Unlawful Neglect of a Child is felony and carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison and/or a fine with the amount determined at the discretion of the court.

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

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office to Host Pill Take Back Day This Saturday

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————-The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is reminding everyone that the Sheriff’s Office will be hosting its next Pill Take Back Day this Saturday, October 22nd.

The event will be held from 10am until 2pm at the Sheriff’s Office Substation which is located near the Emergency Room at Oconee Memorial Hospital.

The Sheriff’s Office will be accepting old or no longer needed prescription medication, in pill or liquid form, plus over the counter medication and vitamins so those medications can be disposed of properly.

“The Pill Take Back Days will make it possible for the Sheriff’s Office not only to safely collect but safely dispose of these medications,” says Lt. Jeremy Chapman of the Special Operations Division of the Sheriff’s Office. “This will prevent these medications from damaging the environment from being disposed of in the wrong place and also prevent these medications from getting into the hands of children or other individuals to protect them from harm.”

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind our citizens that a Drug Collection Unit is located inside the mail lobby of the Law Enforcement Center at 300 South Church Street in Walhalla. This unit, which was awarded to the Sheriff’s Office based on a grant from CVS Pharmacy, was placed in the Law Enforcement Center earlier this summer.

Citizens can bring by their unused prescription and over the counter medications and empty the contents into the Unit during normal business hours, 8:30am until 4:30pm, Monday-Friday.

A second Medication Disposal Unit was placed this week outside of the Emergency Room of Oconee Memorial Hospital and is now available for use.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking those who bring medication in pill form to either the Pill Take Back Day or to the Drug Collection Unit to make sure to bring those medications in their marked prescription bottles and then to open up those bottles and empty their contents into containers that the Sheriff’s Office will have set up during the Pill Take Back Day or directly into the Drug Collection Unit and then take those bottles with them to be recycled. This will help to keep the Sheriff’s Office incinerator in good working order, according to Lt. Chapman.

So far in 2016, the Sheriff’s Office has collected approximately 321.4 pounds of medication during earlier Pill Take Back Days this year and approximately 212 pounds of medication as a result of the Drug Collection Unit.

In 2015, the Sheriff’s Office collected approximately 910 pounds of pills and liquid prescription medication.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeks the Public’s Help in Solving October 16th Seneca Walmart Shoplifting

October 16th, 2016 Senca Walmart Shoplifting Picture

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in solving an October 16th Seneca Walmart shoplifting and identifying two individuals in relation to the case.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to the store address at 1636 Sandifer Boulevard in regards to the incident and began an investigation. A male and female purchased a few items inside the store and then proceeded out of the store.

The female then proceeded to get into a car, drove the vehicle to one of the exits, whereupon the male loaded a mini motorcycle bike into the vehicle. The individuals then left the property without paying for the item.

The bike has a retail value of around $528.94.

If you have any further information on this October 16th shoplifting at the Seneca Walmart or the identities of the two individuals in relation to this case, please contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or 864-638-STOP. You don’t have to give your name when you contact Crimestoppers and all information given is confidential. If your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Announces Twenty-Third Arrest in Fourteenth “Operation Infinity” Drug Round-Up

William Lamar Crawford

William Lamar Crawford

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is announcing the twenty-third arrest today in the fourteenth “Operation Infinity” drug sweep round-up that began Thursday morning, August 25th.

In all, 25 individuals were or are being sought on a variety of drug charges involving methamphetamine, prescription drugs, and marijuana. Some individuals in the drug sweep were or are being sought on charges of Unlawful Neglect of a Child.

As of Monday, October 3rd, 22 individuals had been arrested so far and/or were already in jail and will or have been served their warrants. 20 of those arrested were sought as part of the round-up plus two individuals arrested were not originally sought as part of the roundup. Here is the information on the additional arrest:

1) William Lamar Crawford
Westminster, SC
31 years old
Distribution of Ice (Methamphetamine) – 1st Offense
Booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 12:38pm on October 19th
Still in custody at the Detention Center as of 9:30am on October 20th on a $15,000 surety bond.

The charge of Distribution of Ice (Methamphetamine) – 1st Offense against Crawford is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 15 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $25,000.

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

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Participating in No Shave November

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in No Shave November to raise money St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital.

“No Shave November is an initiative to bring awareness to men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, and to help raise money for a great cause,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “The men who choose to participate in our department will be putting down their razors for the month to help raise awareness to these issues. I encourage our citizens to support these efforts by talking with our deputies if you see them in public and making a donation while you have this conversation with them.”

Deputies who decide to participate will pay a minimum of $25 and they can raise as much money as they want through any donations they receive from citizens.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking that any donations that citizens want to make be made to deputies in person or by stopping by the Sheriff’s Office during normal business hours, Monday – Friday from 8:30am until 4:30pm but please do not call the Sheriff’s Office to make donations as this may tie up the phone lines that are used for official law enforcement business.

If you are interested in receiving a tax deduction for your donation, you are asked to write a check made payable to St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and Walhalla Police Department Arrest Oconee Man on Multiple Charges

Daniel Eugene Fortner

Daniel Eugene Fortner

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and the Walhalla Police Department arrested an Oconee man on multiple charges yesterday.

30 year old Daniel Eugene Fortner was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 6:21pm. Arrest warrants from the Sheriff’s Office list Fortner’s address as Highland Avenue in Westminster while the Detention Center lists Fortner’s address as South John Street in Walhalla.

Acting upon information received concerning the location of Fortner, deputies from the Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Walhalla Police Department responded to an address on Broadway Street in the Seneca area and knocked on the door of a residence.

Fortner eventually came out of the residence and was placed under arrest without incident by a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division of the Sheriff’s Office and transported to the Detention Center by an officer from the Walhalla Police Department.

Fortner was booked into the Detention Center on four arrest warrants by the Sheriff’s Office. Fortner is charged with one count of breaking into a gas tank of a personal watercraft and one count of Petit Larceny for stealing a gas can, gas and a Jet Ski battery from an address on Sugar Creek Haven Way in the Westminster area around August 31st.

Deputies have also charged Fortner with one count of Second Degree Burglary and one count of Grand Larceny in regards to an August 5th incident that occurred on Shiloh Road in which Fortner entered a building on the property and stole a 1959 Chevrolet Apache truck valued at around $16,000. The truck was eventually recovered by deputies.

Fortner had two arrest warrants also from the Walhalla Police Department on charges of Malicious Damage to Personal Property and Petit Larceny.

Fortner also had an outstanding General Session Bench Warrant and a Magistrate’s Bench Warrant from the city of Westminster as well as a warrant from the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardons. A hold has also been placed on Fortner by the Clemson Police Department.

Fortner remains in custody at the Detention Center as of 3:30pm this afternoon awaiting a bond hearing.

The charge of Breaking into a Fuel Tank against Fortner is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 5 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $1,000.

The charge of Petit Larceny against Fortner is a felony with a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison.

The charge of Second Degree Burglary against Fortner is a felony with a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison.

The charge of Grand Larceny against Fortner is a felony with a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison or a fine with the amount determined at the discretion of the Court.

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

Inmate Charged With Assault on Correctional Officer

Kenneth Strother Collins, Jr.

Kenneth Strother Collins, Jr.

Release Courtesy of Thom Berry
Public Information Officer
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

Agents of the S.C. Law Enforcement Division Monday charged a Walhalla man in connection with an assault on a correctional officer in the Oconee County Detention Center.

Kenneth Strother Collins, Jr., 25, was charged with Assault and Battery – Third Degree, a misdemeanor which carries a penalty upon conviction of a fine of up to $500, up to 30 days in prison or both.

SLED investigated the case at the request of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.

Collins was booked on the charge at the Oconee County Detention Center.

The case will be prosecuted by the 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Offers Tips on Internet Safety

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–With much of our lives centered around computers, technology and the internet, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is offering these tips to help keep you and your family safe.

“The Sheriff’s Office has committed itself to providing helpful information to help you and your family from becoming a victim,” according to Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt. “This includes updates periodically on various types of scams but also information, such as is contained in this press release, on how you protect yourself while you enjoy visiting the internet and your favorite sites and staying in touch with family and friends.”

The Sheriff’s Office is offering the following internet safety tips:

• If anyone calls claiming to be from a technology company and you did not initiate the call and they say that your computer contains viruses or malware or has some type of problem and if you pay money they will repair your computer or remove the harmful items, it is a scam and if you allow those individual(s) remote access to your computer, then your computer could be compromised and any personal or financial information could be compromised and other information could be erased or held for ransom. If someone from the outside gains remote access to your computer in this way, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately and do not pay any ransom, as this could further embolden the scammers. Also, make sure you have your files backed up in a virtual cloud environment and/or on some type of thumb drive.
• Change you passwords on a frequent basis and use different passwords for each internet account you have. The more unique you make them and the more difficult to guess, the better the chance you have from becoming a victim.
• You may also want to consider using two-factor authentication, which provides an additional layer of security by using a second known device. For example, when you change something on your account, such as a password, a text can be sent to you phone advising you of the change.
• Set your internet and social media accounts on the highest security level possible and post as little personal information as you can. Anything could be potentially used by individuals looking to scam and/or steal personal and financial information.
• If someone sends you an e-mail with an attachment and/or a link to another site and you do not know that person, do not open the attachment and/or click on the link as this is a way for viruses, malware or Trojans to be downloaded on your computer or allow someone to gain remote access to your computer.
• Be careful in regards to the sites you log into while in public places that offer Wi-Fi service as those hotspots may not provide enough security.
• Make sure you have your computer’s firewall turned on at all times and keep your antivirus software updated and current. Also make sure that the critical updates on your operating system for your computer are current.
• Look out for social media scams that offer gifts cards, for example, as a prize for taking a survey or for online shopping scams that offer merchandise at discounted prices. If an offer sounds too good to be true, more often than not it is and it could be used to steal personal or financial information.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Westminster Man on Multiple Charges after Weekend Burglary

Bradley Thomas Barnett

Bradley Thomas Barnett

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster man over the weekend on multiple charges in relation to a burglary incident.

20 year old Bradley Thomas Barnett of E. Richfield Drive was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 5:30pm Sunday.

Deputies from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to an address on South Highway 11 early Sunday morning in the Walhalla area in regards to reports of a burglary.

Based on the results of the investigation that occurred and evidence gathered, deputies were able to determine that Barnett made entry into the residence through a window and assaulted a female inside the residence while also throwing the victim’s phone and shattering it.

After yelling for the suspect to leave, Bradley hid in a closet while two other occupants of the residence came into the victim’s room. After one of the occupants opened the closet, Bradley reportedly came out and assaulted a male occupant, whereupon an altercation ensued between the two.

That altercation continued until deputies arrived to separate the two parties. The male victim was later transported to Oconee Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Bradley was taken into custody and placed under arrest. While being taken to a patrol vehicle to be transported to the Detention Center, Bradley began to resist and while the deputy was attempting to regain control, both Bradley and the deputy feel to the ground in the driveway. Bradley and the deputy both sustained non-serious and non-life threatening injuries and both were transported to the Oconee Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Bradley was released from the hospital and transported to the Detention Center.

Deputies obtained warrants on Sunday charging Bradley with one count of First Degree Burglary, one count of Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature, one count of Assault and Battery – 3rd Degree, two counts of Malicious Injury to Personal Property and one count of Resisting Assault while Resisting Arrest.

As of 1:15pm, Barnett remains in custody at the Detention Center on a combined $200,000 surety bond on all charges.

The charge of First Degree Burglary against Barnett is a felony that carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison.

The charge of Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature against Barnett is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in prison.

The charge of Assault and Battery – 3rd Degree against Barnett is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of not more than 30 days in jail and/or a fine of not more than $500.

The two charges of Malicious Injury to Personal Property against Barnett are misdemeanors that each carries a penalty of not more than 30 days in jail and/or a fine of not more than $1,000.

The charge of Assaulting a Police Officer while Resisting Arrest is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison and/or a fine from $1,000 to $10,000.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources To Host Hunter Education Classes in October and November

SCDNR Logo

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will be hosting hunter education classes in the months of October and November in the following locations:

LOCATIONS & DATES

- Oct 15, Saturday, 8am-4pm
Historic Belton Depot, 100 N. Main Street, Belton

- Oct 22, Saturday, 8am-4pm
Foothills Community Church, 505 Bountyland Road, Seneca

- Oct 22, Saturday, 8am-4pm
Calyx Outdoors, 3318-C Hwy 153, Piedmont

- Nov 12, Saturday, 8am-4pm
Walhalla Fire Department, 207 E. North Broad Street, Walhalla

All residents and non-residents born after June 30, 1979, need the hunter education endorsement and must complete a hunter education course before obtaining a hunting license in the state. If you were born prior to that date and attempt to acquire a hunting license out-of-state, you’ll find that many states now require you to have a hunter education endorsement. The Hunter Education Program is dedicated to the safe enjoyment of our outdoors. Through this program, students learn about responsibility and ethics in the field, as well as firearms safety.

Participants must pre-register at www.dnr.sc.gov and clicking on the hunter education icon or by calling 803.734.3995.

It’s first come, first served and is a free event.

All children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The minimum age to take the exam and be certified is 10.