Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Continues Efforts to Stop Litter in Oconee County

2016 Litter Pick-up (1)

2016 Litter Pick-up (2)

2016 Litter Pick-up (3)

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office continues its efforts to clean up and educate citizens regarding the damages that litter does to the beauty of Oconee County.

“During my press release upon the release of the 2015 Sheriff’s Office Summary, I made mention of our continued and increased efforts to curb the litter problem in Oconee County,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “With that in mind, I want to remind our citizens now that spring is here that the Sheriff’s Office will once use inmate labor, which we have the last few years, to help to clean the roads and highway in Oconee County.”

Just recently, Corporal Brandon Meadows, Environmental Services Officer from the Sheriff’s Office, utilized inmate labor to clean up portions of Charles Drive in Westminster and Forest Path Lane in Walhalla. According to Corporal Meadows, one load of litter taken to solid waste weighed approximately 1,760 pounds.

“As you travel around Oconee County, you may notice Corporal Meadows out supervising inmate labor and the Sheriff’s Office wants everyone traveling to use caution in those areas,” continues Sheriff Crenshaw. “The inmates will be wearing yellow vests and signs will be posted on the side of the road clearing marking the area where the inmate litter detail and pickup is ongoing. Also, Sheriff’s Office vehicles will be clearly marked as well. Please slow down and drive carefully in these areas for the safety of all.”

As part of the ongoing efforts, the Sheriff’s Office will be participating in the Zero Tolerance for Litter campaign again this year and Sheriff Crenshaw has asked officers to continue to be vigilant in regards to litter enforcement. The Sheriff’s Office announced in June of 2014 that it begun participation in the Adopt-a-Highway program by adopting a portion of Highway 11 in Picket Post. Deputies and their family members have participated in picking up litter quarterly since then.

The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind everyone that no vehicle which transports litter may be driven or moved on any highway unless the litter and trash is secured by means of a covering which is fastened securely. According to Keep America Beautiful, there are seven sources of litter, which included household garbage, commercial waste, loading docks, construction debris, motorists, pedestrians, and uncovered vehicles.

If you cannot properly secure any trash or litter in a garbage bag that can be secured on its own where trash or litter do not escape or if a vehicle or trailer is fully loaded where litter, trash, or a trash bag can escape from that moving vehicle or trailer, the vehicle or trailer containing the trash, litter or trash bags should be fully tarped. Plastic sheeting is not strong enough, according to the Sheriff’s Office, to withstand wind pressure and can tear off and become litter itself. Commercial tarps are recommended. It is illegal to operate a vehicle with any load unless that load is properly secured to prevent items from coming loose.

If you are hauling any article, whether heavy or light, making sure they are secured properly will not only cut down on the litter problem, but will also help to prevent accidents and improve driver safety. Make sure the tarps are secured to the vehicle using ropes, straps, bungee cords, or chains. The Sheriff’s Office recommends tying larger items directly to the vehicle and placing heavier items on top of lighter ones to help in securing those items. The best practice, of course, is not to overload your vehicle in the first place.

Fines are as high as $500 for anyone who is caught littering, but with court costs, those fees may go as high as $1,092.50. Besides the court costs, jail time of up to 30 days is possible. It should also be noted that that neighborhoods that have a litter problem tend to be areas where crime rates are higher and have lower property values.

“Anyone who is caught littering in the unincorporated areas of the county will be given a ticket,” continues the Sheriff. “We know there is more to be done but we will continue with our education, enforcement and clean-up efforts in our efforts to make Oconee even more beautiful that what it is already.”

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Central Man on Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor Charges

William Kenneth Roberts, Jr.

William Kenneth Roberts, Jr.

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Central man Wednesday evening on two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor – 2nd Degree.

27 year old William Kenneth Roberts, Jr. of Shemaiah Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 9:30pm by a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division met with a complainant, a family member of the victim, in regards to reports of a sexual assault on March 9th of this year. The complainant told the deputy that Roberts, Jr. and the victim were having an inappropriate sexual relationship.

The case was turned over to the Child/Elder Abuse Investigator who works in the Criminal Investigations Division. As the investigation continued, Sergeant Tim Rice was able to confirm that Roberts, Jr. had sexually assaulted the victim during the time period of between March 15th and June 1st of 2015 and again between December 1st and December 31st of 2015.

The case involves only one female victim and occurred during the time period when the victim was 14 and 15 years old. The incidents occurred at two separate locations inside Oconee County.

As of 9am this morning, Roberts, Jr. is still in custody at the Detention Center on a combined $50,000 surety bond.

Nationally Syndicated Program To Air Story on the Unsolved Case of Brooke Holsonback

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–Back on Thursday, March 10th, a crew along with Correspondent Jason Mattera from the syndicated program “Crime Watch Daily” spent some time in Oconee County on a story concerning the unsolved case of Clemson University student Brooke Holsonback.

The genesis of this segment began with a phone call several weeks ago from a Crime Watch Daily producer to Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt indicating that Crime Watch Daily was interested in devoting a portion of an upcoming episode on this case. In fact, producers specifically mentioned this case as one they wanted to do a story on.

The show wanted to interview an investigator who was involved in the investigation of the case and P.I.O. Watt made the initial contact with Captain Greg Reed of the Criminal Investigations Division to talk with the show producer and arrange a time for the crew to come to the Sheriff’s Office for interviews as part of the segment.

Reed, who was the lead investigator in the case, also talked with Mattera and the crew at the site near the Clemson University campus where Brooke’s body was discovered. Also as part of the segment, the crew also interviewed the Holsonback family.

The segment on the Holsonback case will air during the Tuesday, March 29th edition of Crime Watch Daily which can be seen in the upstate of South Carolina at 9am on My 40, WMYA.

“We leave no stone unturned when it comes to investigating stories for ‘Crime Watch Daily,’ and the story of Brooke Holsonback was one we knew we had to tell,” said the show’s executive producers, Scott Eldridge and Jeremy Spiegel.

The Sheriff’s Office issued a press release on June 25th, 2013 on the Holsonback case as part of a series of releases in 2013 documenting nine unsolved cases the Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate.
“My biggest hope is that this show generates a piece of evidence that will bring this case to a close and bring justice and closure for Brooke and her family,” says Captain Reed.
According to the 2013 release, the body of the then 19 year old was discovered on February 20th, 1997 in Lake Hartwell just off Highway 93 near Seneca in a small cove across the road from the Roy Cooper YMCA Recreation Area close to the Clemson University campus. The case received wide spread media attention as the investigation began and continued.
Her death was ruled as a homicide by manual strangulation. The last two individuals to see Stacey alive were two Clemson students, who were considered at that time strong persons of interest. Those two individuals told investigators that all three were 4 wheeling and the vehicles got stuck. The persons of interest told investigators that she walked away and that was the last time they saw Stacey.
Even though drugs and alcohol did not play a part in the reported homicide, there had been drinking going on, and no charges were ever filed in the case. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has been asking for public’s help since then to solve this case that is now over 19 years old.
“Even though it has been approximately (then) 16 years since this homicide, Stacy’s family and the investigators involved in this case remember it as if it happened yesterday,” said Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw in the June 2013 release. “We will never give up because we know there is someone out there that can provide the information we need to close this case. I ask that person to come forward not only because it is the right thing to do but to allow her family the opportunity to have some sense of closure in their lives.”

“This investigation led to interviews being conducted in many states,” said Greg Reed, Captain of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office in the June 2013 release. “Those states were Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Florida. Many investigators and law enforcement officials from multiple agencies participated in the investigation as well.”

The Holsonback family issued a statement which stated the following: “It is our family’s hope that by bringing this case to the forefront, our daughter will never be forgotten and justice will soon prevail for Brooke. We want to thank Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, especially Captain Greg Reed, for keeping Brooke’s case in the minds of the public.

If you have any information regarding the unsolved homicide of Stacey Brooke Holsonback, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 638-STOP or 1-888-CRIME-SC. If you tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000. You can also directly contact Dean Brown, the Unsolved Case investigator with the Sheriff’s Office, on any of the unsolved cases at 864-718-1052.

Greenville Radio Station Airs Interview with Sheriff’s Office P.I.O. Regarding Active Shooter Training Classes

On Saturday, a pre-recorded interview aired on 94.5 WGTK in Greenville on a program called “Week n Pulse” regarding the Sheriff’s Office offering Active Shooter Training classes to businesses, organizations and churches in Oconee County. Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Office, was interviewed by co-host Martine Wilder. The link to the interview is below:

http://www.conservativetalk945.com/oconee-county-active-shooter-training-courses-for-public

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Townville Man on Fugitive from Justice Warrant

Devin Develle Ferguson

Devin Develle Ferguson

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Townville man over the weekend on a Fugitive from Justice Warrant after deputies discovered that the subject had outstanding charges in the state of Wisconsin.

23 year old Devin Develle Ferguson of Rachel’s Lane was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 9:39pm Saturday. He remains in custody currently at the jail.

Deputies from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to Rachel’s Lane location Saturday evening due to reports of a fight involving multiple people and one of the individuals reportedly discharging a firearm.

Once deputies arrived at the incident location, the deputies did not observe a disturbance. After attempting to make contact with the occupant(s) of the residence, one individual stepped outside. After deputies requested the subject identification and being told that he did not have one, deputies were able to obtain the subjects name and date of birth.

Dispatch informed the deputy that the subject, Ferguson, was showing possible active warrants from an agency in Wisconsin with nationwide extradition. After further identification, dispatch confirmed that Ferguson did have outstanding warrants from the Fond Du Lac County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin and the warrants were active and that they requested a hold until authorities could pick Ferguson up.

Ferguson was placed under arrest and transported to the Detention Center.

According to the Fugitive from Justice Warrant, the charges in Wisconsin concern three counts related to the manufacture and delivery of Heroin, 2nd Offense and a Violation of Parole.

Easley Man Returns to Oconee County to Face Attempted Murder Charge

David Lee Cook

David Lee Cook

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office transported an Easley man to the Oconee County Detention Center to face four charges on outstanding warrants, including a charge of Attempted Murder.

37 year old David Lee Cook of Oak Wood Drive was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 3:41pm after being picked up at the Pickens County jail by a deputy from the Warrants Division. Cook had also been previously incarcerated at the Manning Correctional Institution, which is a South Carolina Department of Corrections Facility.

Cook was charged with Attempted Murder on January 23rd, 2012 by the Sheriff’s Office after attempting to run over a deputy on January 22nd at the conclusion of a pursuit as that deputy was called to assist the Highway Patrol who was pursuing a vehicle that Cook was driving. The incident occurred in a field at the intersection of Highway 59 at Rogers Road.

The deputy approached the Ford truck that Cook was driving, whereupon Cook put the truck into reverse, struck a Cedar Tree and then drove forward nearly striking the deputy. After driving a short distance, Cook ran from the scene and was unable to be located by officers.

Cook was eventually arrested in Greenville County on January 30th, 2012 and transported to the Greenville County Detention Center in reference to charges there.

Cook was also charged in three warrants by the South Carolina Highway Patrol in relation to the incident.

Cook is being held at the Detention Center on a combined $112,105 surety bond. An additional hold has been placed on Cook by the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Fair Play Man on Burglary and Larceny Charges

Charles Daniel Barker

Charles Daniel Barker

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Fair Play man yesterday morning on charges of First Degree Burglary and Grand Larceny.

34 year old Charles Daniel Barker of Shore Drive was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 10:22am by a deputy from the Warrants Division.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division met with the victim on February 21st regarding the suspect, Barker, coming to the residence located on Crooks Road in Westminster and taking tattooing equipment, with a value of around $3,500.

The case was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division. As the investigation continued and interviews were conducted, it was determined that Barker had entered a building on the property without consent of the owner and later told a family member that the victim had sent him to pick up the equipment. Barker then left with the equipment and the victim told investigators that Barker did not have permission either to use or to pick up the equipment.

Investigators obtained warrants against Barker on February 25th.

Barker remains incarcerated at the Oconee County Detention Center. Barker was given a $25,000 surety bond on the Grand Larceny charge but was denied bond on the First Degree Burglary charge.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Westminster Man on Charges Related to Removal of Ankle Monitor

Joshua Scott Ivester

Joshua Scott Ivester

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Westminster man earlier this afternoon on charges related to removal of the subject’s ankle monitor earlier this morning.

The Sheriff’s Office received word that 31 year old Joshua Scott Ivester of Shannandoah Drive in Westminster had removed his ankle monitor shortly after 5am this morning. A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division discovered the ankle monitor at the residence as Ivester had left the scene.

Ivester was arrested back on December 15th, 2015 on nine counts of Petit Larceny, nine counts of Breaking into Auto’s, one count of Grand Larceny and on a bench warrant from the city of Walhalla. Ivester was placed on ankle monitoring as a condition of bond back on New Year’s Day.

A BOLO was issued concerning Ivester and deputies followed up on leads throughout the morning.

As of 8:45am this morning, Ivester was reportedly spotted in the Timberlake One area and along Coneross Creek Road, which is near the Townville area.

Acting upon a tip deputies received later on in the day, Ivester was located by deputies on Hunt Road near Highway 24, which is near Townville. Ivester was taken into custody a short time later.

In warrants obtained by deputies today, Ivester has been charged Removing an Electronic Monitoring Device and with Malicious Injury to Personal Property.

Ivester was denied bond on the two charges. Ivester remains incarcerated at the Oconee County Detention Center, where he was booked in around 4:28pm.

An additional hold has been placed on Ivester by General Sessions Court regarding revocation of bond.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Continues to Warn Citizens about I.R.S. Scams

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office continues to warn citizens not to fall prey to various types of scams, including those purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service.

“I have received in my office a couple of calls in the last few days from citizens who said they received calls from someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service and demanding payment for back taxes owed or those individuals would be arrested,” says Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt. “Fortunately, these citizens did not provide any personal information or money to these scammers.”

“We have issued multiple press releases in the past three years concerning various types of scams,” continues PIO Watt. “However, because scammers never stop working 24/7, the Sheriff’s Office feels it is important to be proactive and continue to provide some educational tips to our citizens to help them avoid being taken advantage of. Many of these scammers work outside of Oconee County, so prosecution and/or recovery of assets lost can be virtually impossible, so we feel that our educational efforts can be the most effective way to combat this issue.”

As the Sheriff’s Office has published in previous press releases, here are some tips to avoid being taken advantage of by scammers:

• 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.

• 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. If you desire to, you can contact your local law enforcement agency and request to speak to or see an officer 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. The Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number is 864-638-4111.

• 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.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeks Public’s Help in Locating Individual Who Removed Ankle Monitoring Device

Joshua Scott Ivester

Joshua Scott Ivester

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in locating an individual who removed his ankle monitoring device this morning and is currently being sought by law enforcement.

The Sheriff’s Office received word this morning that 31 year old Joshua Scott Ivester of Shannandoah Drive in Westminster had removed his ankle monitor shortly after 5am this morning.

Ivester was arrested back on December 15th, 2015 on nine counts of Petit Larceny, nine counts of Breaking into Auto’s, one count of Grand Larceny and on a bench warrant from the city of Walhalla. Ivester was placed on ankle monitoring as a condition of bond back on New Year’s Day.

A BOLO was issued concerning Ivester and deputies have been following up on leads throughout the morning.

As of 8:45am this morning, Ivester had been reportedly spotted in the Timberlake One area and along Coneross Creek Road, which is near the Townville area.

Ivester was reportedly wearing a black shirt, boots and jeans and a black jacket. He is a white male, 5’11” tall and around 150 pounds. He has blue eyes with a shaved head and multiple tattoos’ on his scalp, as well as both arms.

This morning, deputies are also in the process of obtaining an arrest warrant against Ivester in regards to the removal of the ankle monitor.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Joshua Scott Ivester, you are asked to call the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4111 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.