Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Responding and Providing Assistance in Active Shooter Situation at Townville Elementary

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–Deputies from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office responded to provide assistance at the request of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office in regards to an active shooter situation that occurred at Townville Elementary School in Anderson County.

The Sheriff’s Office received word of a reported active shooter at the school around 1:44pm this afternoon and immediately dispatched the first deputies to the scene as well as sending deputies to the area schools in Oconee County to ensure the safety of our students. A request was made until more information became known for the area schools in Oconee County to go into a code yellow which means instruction inside the school continues as usual but no one is allowed into the building. School dismissal will take place in Oconee County on the normal schedule.

Since that time, the Sheriff’s Office has been assisting the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office in regards to securing and clearing the school. The Sheriff’s Office SWAT unit and additional resources have been activated to assist.

Also, assets from Oconee County Emergency Services responded to the scene as well.

“I have spoken with Sheriff John Skipper in Anderson County and have offered to make available any resources and assistance from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office that he needs as the investigation continues,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw.

United Way of Oconee County Hosting Poker Run in October

United Way of Oconee County Poker Run

(Walhalla, SC)—————————————–The United Way of Oconee County will be hosting a charity Poker Run on Saturday, October 29th.
The event will be held, rain or shine, with registration to begin at 10am the morning of the event at the United Way offices in Seneca at 409 East North 1st Street.
Pre-registration is available and encouraged by going to the United Way of Oconee County website at oconeeunitedway.org.
For more information, contact the United Way of Oconee County offices at 864-882-9743.

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

Harold Arnold Thurston III

Harold Arnold Thurston III

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Belton man yesterday on charges of First Degree Burglary and Grand Larceny in relation to a May incident that occurred in the Seneca area.

20 year old Harold Arnold Thurston III of Blount Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 9:15am after being picked up at the jail in Stephens County, GA by a deputy from the Warrants Division and transported back to Oconee County. The Detention Center lists the arrestee as living at an address on Teasley Lane in Lavonia, GA.

On May 30th of this year, a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to an address on Snow Creek Road in regards to a burglary in which the victim stated that his residence had been broken into and several firearms had been taken. A further check of the residence revealed that several other items had been stolen, including electronic items, jewelry, ammunition and items used for outdoor sporting activities.

Deputies began an investigation and the case was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division. Due to evidence gathered as part of the investigation, deputies were able to determine that Thurston III had entered the residence sometime between May 27th and May 30th and stole the items from the residence.

Based upon this evidence, investigators had enough probable cause to obtain warrants against Thurston III in the case.

Thurston III remains in custody at the Detention Center as of 9:00am this morning on a combined $50,000 surety bond.

The charge of First Degree Burglary against Thurston III is a felony and carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison.

The charge of Grand Larceny against Thurston III is also a felony and carries a penalty of not more than 5 years in prison and/or a fine with the amount to be determined at the discretion of the court.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Greenville Man on Multiple Charges

Jervonte Tiyon Gilliam

Jervonte Tiyon Gilliam

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Greenville man this past Saturday on multiple charges related to two incidents that occurred in the county back in May.

19 year old Jervonte Tiyon Gilliam of Shemwood Lane was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 11:20am after being transported from the Greenville County Detention Center.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division was notified on May 27th of this year of two separate burglaries that occurred in the Seneca area, one at an address on Fernwood Drive and one at an address on Wells Highway.

In the incident on Wells Highway, entry was made into a residence and items were taken from the residence, including jewelry.

In the incident on Fernwood Drive, entry was also made into a residence at that location and items were taken from that residence as well, including jewelry.

Both crime scenes were processed for evidence as the investigation continued. Meanwhile, the deputy investigating the case received word from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office that due to an arrest there in a separate case, deputies there discovered items in the possession of Gilliam that belonged to both victims in Oconee County.

Based upon evidence gathered in the course of the investigation, deputies had probable cause to obtain warrants against Gilliam charging him with two counts of Second Degree Burglary, one count each of Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny and two counts of Malicious Injury to Personal Property.

Gilliam remains in custody at the Detention Center as of 10:00am this morning on a combined surety bond amount of $61,375.00. A hold has been placed on Gilliam by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.

The two charges of Second Degree Burglary against Gilliam are each felonies and each charge carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison.

The Grand Larceny charge against Gilliam is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison.

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

The charge of Petit Larceny against Gilliam is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of not more than 30 days in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000.

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

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Warns Residents to be Aware of Social Media Sweetheart Scams

Sheriff's Badge

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————-Even though the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has not filed any case reports regarding what has been called “Sweetheart Scams,” the Sheriff’s Office, in our continuing effort to educate citizens on various scams, is warning citizens not to fall victim to this scheme that preys on the emotions of people.

“In the dozen or more press releases we have issued regarding various kinds of scams, we have not issued a release of this sort,” says Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt. “All scams, by nature, prey on the emotions of people either by fear or some type of intimidation. However, this kind of scam preys on people’s emotions in a different way through the emotions of love and the promise of a relationship.”

According to information provided by the FBI in February of 2012, the average financial loss from a “sweetheart scam” is between $15,000 and $20,000.

P.I.O. Watt received word from an individual recently of a “sweetheart scam” via a Facebook e-mail in which a couple of individuals received a friend request on Facebook from distinguished looking gentlemen who reportedly made it appear that they work outside of the United States. Each person received this request from separate individuals. Fortunately, no money was lost.

According to this type of scam, the individuals put a considerable amount of time in praying on the feelings of the persons they are pursuing and may make indications that they are falling in the love with the person they are pursuing in a short amount of time.

Those who are preyed upon are perhaps those who have lost a spouse or someone close to them or someone who may be looking for a friend. As time goes along, the individuals will begin to ask for money, such as obtaining funds to for travel expenses or medical emergencies, for example, and may make continued requests for more money in the future. Sometimes, that involves the fact that the person says that they cannot travel to meet the person they are pursuing unless the person sends them money and then cancels the trip due to some unforeseen circumstance.

The Sheriff’s Office is offering these tips so you can avoid being a victim of this scam:

• Never provide personal information or data to anyone you don’t know and that includes any type of financial account information, such as account numbers or card numbers.
• You may want to consider disabling your location setting on any mobile apps you have or not posting places you have been on your social media sites.
• Use the internet and search engines to verify photos or the identities of individuals to see if it backs up what they look like or what they are saying about themselves. Also, be aware of photo’s that appear to look too professional.
• You can copy and paste e-mail address and/or phone numbers and do a Google search to see if those items have ever been used in any type of scams.
• Be aware of those who suddenly leave social media sites immediately and desire to communicate via e-mail or instant messaging and makes excuses about not being able to speak by phone.
• Check for spelling and grammar errors in any correspondence you receive.
• Only accept requests to follow or friend you on social media from individuals you may know or who have a large number of mutual friends or followers.
• Legitimate business or individuals will not ask for payment or request money via a prepaid card. This could be a red flag to indicate that someone is trying to scam you. Also be wary of those who ask you to wire money or cash a check or obtain a money order and then send it via a third party.

If you have been contacted by someone online in the above manner, go to the following website: www.ic3.gov and click on the link to file a complaint with the federal government. Remember, if you lose money or your personal information on identity is compromised, you may want to consider contacting your local law enforcement agency to have a report filed in case federal authorities need that paperwork.

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

Brent Oryan Freeman

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

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

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

As of Thursday, September 22nd, 20 individuals had been arrested so far and/or were already in jail and will or have been served their warrants. 18 of those arrested were sought as part of the round-up plus two individual arrested who was not originally sought as part of the roundup. Here is the information on the additional arrests.

1) Brent Oryan Freeman
Seneca, SC
26 years old
Distribution of Marijuana – 2nd Offense – 1 Count
Booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 10:22pm on September 22nd
Released from the Oconee County Detention Center on September 23rd on a $15,000 personal recognizance bond

The charge of Distribution of Marijuana – 2nd Offense against Freeman is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000.

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

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests West Union Man on Charges Related to Domestic Incident

Jamie Allen Smith

Jamie Allen Smith

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a West Union man yesterday on multiple charges related to a domestic incident that occurred early Wednesday morning.

32 year old Jamie Allen Smith of West Railroad Street was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 8:45am by a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to an address on Burnt Tanyard Road in West Union early Wednesday morning in regards to a domestic dispute. The victim told the deputy that Smith came over to the residence and began to remove items from the porch. An argument started and while the victim attempted to remove items from the vehicle, Smith reportedly assaulted her.

The victim was able to get away from Smith. Smith also did damage to the residence and to the victim’s truck. Smith then left the area, whereupon the deputy located a vehicle matching the description of the one that Smith was in and initiated a traffic stop on Burnt Tanyard Road.

The deputy was able to confirm that Smith’s license was suspended. He was placed under arrest for Driving under Suspension and was issued a traffic ticket. He was also placed on a Temporary Custody Order until warrants were obtained today charging him with two counts of Malicious Injury to Personal Property and one count of Domestic Violence – 3rd Degree.

The damage to the camper and the damage to the victim’s vehicle, a Chevrolet pickup truck, was over $2,000 each.

Smith remains in custody at the Detention Center as of 2:30pm. His total surety bond amount on the two Malicious Injury charges is a combined $5,000. Smith also received a combined $7,100.00 personal recognizance bond on the Driving under Suspension charge and the Domestic Violence – 3rd Degree charge.

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

David Edwin Ramage

David Edwin Ramage

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

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

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

As of Thursday, September 8th, 19 individuals had been arrested so far and/or were already in jail and will or have been served their warrants. 17 of those arrested were sought as part of the round-up plus two individual arrested who was not originally sought as part of the roundup. Here is the information on the additional arrests.

1) David Edwin Ramage
West Union, SC
27 years old
Distribution of Ice (Methamphetamine) – 2 Counts
Booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 7:34am on September 22nd
Ramage was also booked on three Westminster Municipal Bench Warrants and one Magistrates Bench Warrant.
Still in custody at the Detention Center as of 11:00am this morning.

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

The two charges of Distribution of Ice (Methamphetamine) against Ramage is a felony and each carries a penalty of not more than 15 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $25,000.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Seneca Man on Charges of Manufacturing Marijuana

Matthew Kevin Bowen

Matthew Kevin Bowen

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca man earlier today on charges of Manufacturing Marijuana – 1st Offense.

21 year old Matthew Kevin Bowen of Sitton Mill Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 7:09am by a deputy from the Warrants Division after turning himself in at the Law Enforcement Center.

On September 13th, the Narcotics Division along with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division were involved in drug eradication activities when marijuana plants were discovered in plain view from the air growing on the property of an address on Sitton Mill Road in the Seneca area.

Agents arrived at the scene and seized a quantity of marijuana plants. There was no one home at the residence at that time and agents began an investigation to determine who lived at the residence and who the plants belonged to.

As the investigation continued, it was determined that Bowen not only lived on the property but the plants belonged to him. Based upon evidence gathered during the investigation, agents obtained an arrest warrant against Bowen.

Bowen remains in custody at the Detention Center as of Noon today.

The charge of Manufacturing Marijuana – 1st Offense against Bowen is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 5 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $5,000.

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

Tyler Wayne Smith

Tyler Wayne Smith

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

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

19 year old Tyler Wayne Smith of Chiefs Lane was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 3:08pm.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division spoke with an individual on the afternoon of September 18th regarding a larceny that occurred at a separate address on Chiefs Lane. The victim told the deputy that several tools were taken from a building on the property. The case was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division.

As the investigation continued and evidence was gathered in the case, it was determined that Smith had entered the building sometime between September 17th and September 18th and had taken the tools in question. Investigators also recovered the items that were taken from the residence where Smith resides and those items have been returned to the owner.

Based upon the evidence gathered, deputies had probably cause to obtain arrest warrants against Smith on September 20th.

Smith remains in custody at the Detention Center as of 11am this morning.

The charge of Second Degree Burglary against Smith is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 15 years in prison.

The charge of Grand Larceny against Smith is a felony that carries a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison.