Articles Posted in Theft

Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”


Though welfare fraud may not sound like an offense worthy of jail time, those who are found defrauding the government in Cabarrus County, North Carolina might soon find themselves behind bars. Officials with the county say that an investigation revealed more than a million dollars in government assistance fraud has taken place in the past two years alone. To combat the problem, prosecutors say they are going to get tough with offenders and start locking up those responsible for wasting taxpayer money.


Pile of coins Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer North Carolina DUI LawyerOfficials say that $150,000 out of the million dollars in fraud is directly linked to people lying about their situation, either their income or their number of dependents. Already officials say 15 cases have been referred to prosecutors and six cases were formally brought just this past week.  A spokesperson says that the director of Cabarrus County Human Services identified those involving fraud and that prosecutors are now sifting through information related to those case before bringing formal criminal charges.


According to authorities, the instances of fraud were largely revealed thanks to anonymous tips, many received by friends or family members of those responsible for lying. The tipsters would call the Human Services Office and explain how someone had lied to extract more money in benefits. In many cases, those being charged lied about their financial circumstances to get more money in food stamps, Medicaid and other government assistance programs.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”


Chalk this story up to a bizarre crime that many people would be shocked to learn is actually criminal. Authorities in western North Carolina recently announced that two men who were arrested last October for poaching wild ginseng have now been sentenced for their actions. Not only were the two charged with a very real crime, they will now spend time behind bars for their decision to dig up the root.


Blue Ridge Mountains Charlotte DWI DUI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyThe whole mess began last October during the government shutdown. Twenty-six-year-old Daniel Mizell and 33-year-old Derek Vann Whitson were both found in a closed portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The two were caught red-handed digging up wild ginseng. In the end, the two had managed to unearth a combined three pounds of ginseng.


Though digging up a root in the woods may not seem like a dastardly crime, the two men were handcuffed by officers and taken to jail for booking. Now, months later, they have been sentenced for their actions that day.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?”

In a curious case out of Rowan County, North Carolina, a couple is facing serious criminal charges after getting caught stealing a pair of cheap sunglasses. The case should serve as a glaring reminder that even relatively minor crimes like shoplifting can spiral into much bigger issues given the right set of circumstances.


Sunglasses Charlotte DWI Attorney North Carolina Felony Charge LawyerAccording to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, things started going badly for Ana Marie Isenhour and Michael Shane Hooks one evening in late January. The couple, who live together in Gold Hill, NC, were shopping at the Gold Hill Market located on Highway 52.


The clerk at the store says the two were shopping together for some time and actually ended up buying several items, but the clerk noticed that they had picked up a pair of $14.99 sunglasses and never paid for them. The concerned store employee followed the pair to the parking lot and asked to have the sunglasses back. This confrontation quickly soured and the two pulled handguns out of their vehicle and threatened the clerk.


Police say that Hooks was carrying a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun while Isenhour had a .380 semiautomatic handgun. Interestingly, the couple returned to the same market the very next morning to buy gas, this time driving an easily identified vehicle. The owner of the market emerged and insisted that the two leave before he called the cops. Thankfully both drove off without another show of force.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”

Three people in Shelby, North Carolina have been arrested due to their suspected involvement in a series of brazen ATM robberies. Let’s stop for a second and specify exactly what kind of robbery we’re talking about. The three are accused not of holding up customers using the ATMs, but instead of stealing the entire ATM itself.


ATM Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyPolice officials say that the arrests came after yet another ATM was ripped out of a Cleveland County convenience store. Believe it or not, this is not the first ATM the trio are accused of running off with. The three are suspected of being behind several thefts or attempted thefts in the area dating back to early December.


The most recent incident took place at Lisa’s Express convenience store, which is located on Washburn Switch Road. The store was equipped with surveillance cameras, which recorded the suspects arriving at the store in a stolen van. The group then drove the van through the front door of the convenience store and tied ropes around the ATM to pry it loose from the floor. Police say it took several attempts until the ATM finally was dislodged and they were able to throw it into the back of the stolen van and drive off.


Police from Shelby responded to the store alarm and saw a van matching the description given by a witness pass right by them. The officers pulled the van over and arrested two suspects while a third managed to get away on foot. The third person, Anton Smith, was apprehended later that afternoon.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?”

A man from Georgia has filed a criminal complaint concerning bad checks that were passed using his checking account information which have made their way around several grocery stores in the Charlotte area. Police say that Robert Merritt had his account information compromised and that two Food Lion stores in Fort Mill and another in Pineville were where thieves decided to spend Merritt’s money.

Writing a Check Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney.jpgAuthorities say that a total of $650 worth of bad checks were cashed at a Food Lion on Regent Parkway and another on Highway 160 East. Several more checks were cashed at a Food Lion in Pineville, NC. The checks were drawn against an account owned by Merritt who said that the checks were used to buy items of food at both stores and that suspects also made sure to ask for cash back with their purchases.

Merritt says the first three checks were cashed and cleared his account before he was able to spot them. The others were caught before they could be cashed and Merritt made sure to close the checking account for good. Thankfully Merritt’s bank reversed the transactions and restored his money.

Though he’s since gotten his money back, Merritt says the problem is far from over. Food Lion has begun aggressively attempting to collect money from him, harassing Merritt for the value of the canceled checks as well as an extra $25 fee for each one. Merritt says that he’s never set foot in Fort Mill or Pineville and has cooperated with their investigation into the matter, but that Food Lion continues to pursue him for money he never spent.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “If I have an outstanding warrant, what should I do?”

Police in Rock Hill have announced that an unlucky pair of suspected criminals is about to be on the receiving end of a mountain of criminal charges. Police say the two men have been wreaking havoc on businesses throughout York County and that their crime spree may finally be catching up to them.

Abacus Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney.jpgAn official with the Rock Hill Police Department says that 76 warrants have been taken out against Paul Fuller and Travis Alston, all related to burglaries committed in the area. The warrants are voluminous and include everything from second-degree burglary, criminal conspiracy, grand larceny and, unusually, safe cracking.

Police say Alston and Fuller went on a burglarizing rampage through York County businesses located primarily in strip malls around the county. The robberies targeted Chinese restaurants, a butcher shop, nail salons and tanning studios. Police say the incidents in the area have many similarities to incidents reported in Wilson and Pitt counties where Fuller has also been accused of burglary. The two men face similar charges in Virginia that, when added together with the Rock Hill warrants, come to a shocking 100 criminal charges a piece.

Though the current charges are certainly surprising, both men have a colorful history, which indicates it may not be so foreign to them. Back in 2009, Fuller was charged with 42 counts of breaking and entering after engaging in a similar spree in Wilson County, North Carolina. Police say that Fuller accomplished his robberies by breaking into one store and then cutting holes in the walls to move on to neighboring establishments.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”

In a new and bizarre example of how some North Carolina criminals do the dumbest things, two men from Greensboro are in hot legal water after being charged with stealing an unusual item: tube socks.

Tube sock Charlotte DWI DUI Criminal Defense Attorney Lawyer.jpgAccording to the Winston-Salem Journal, the two sock thieves have been charged with stealing $50,000 worth of socks from HanesBrands Inc. The crime allegedly took place out of Hanes’ distribution center located in Kernersville.

Though it’s hard to imagine given that we’re talking about socks, authorities say the two men were caught up in a sting operation. Police had launched an investigation into reports of losses from the Hanes center in Kernersville, with reports of more than $2 million in merchandise going missing over the past two years.

Byron Kearney and his pal Henry Jackson have been charged with felony larceny and felony breaking and entering. The case was cracked thanks to help from the Hanes’ loss prevention department working in conjunction with the local Kernersville Police Department. Hanes installed surveillance cameras and caught the suspects late last month breaking into the facility.

According to a police report, a gate guard let the two men who were driving a large truck into the facility late one Saturday night. The two then began loading their truck with boxes of socks, eventually amassing a quantity large enough that the resale value came to around $50,000. Hanes contacted the police to let them know of the robbery and by a little after 1 a.m. the police had pulled the truck over near I-40 and put Kearney and Jackson in handcuffs.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”

A recent news report revealed that far too many crimes are occurring at the Charlotte CATS transit center. The bus station in Uptown has become something of a hangout destination for some unsavory groups, which has led to increasing incidents of crime. Now that the issue has been raised publicly, Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD says they will aggressively work to stamp it out.

Skyline Charlotte North Carolina DUI DWI Criminal Defense Attorney.jpgA spokesperson for the Central Division of CMPD says that officers will be working hard over the coming days and weeks to impress upon people that the bus station is for catching a bus and nothing more. The spokesperson said the department’s position is clear that those interested in loitering can go elsewhere to hang out.

CMPD Captain Mike Campagna said that after receiving reports of various criminal activities, the police approached Allied Barton, the private security company that CATS contracts out work to. The two organizations are launching a joint effort to put a stop to loitering at the bus terminal and, hopefully, the petty crime that results from all the loitering.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “Can the police search my car without a warrant?”

In a sad case out of Lincoln County, police say that two men in the area have been arrested and charged with trying to steal a motorcycle from the home of a woman who had just been shot to death. motorcycle Charlotte North Carolina DUI DWI Criminal Defense Attorney.jpg

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says that the two men, Britt Fender and Wesley David Bollinger, were spotted trying to run off with the expensive Harley Davidson that was located inside an outbuilding on the woman’s property. The motorcycle belonged to Terry White, a man who had just been charged with first-degree murder for the death of his wife. Police say they believe the two men knew about the murder and believed the house presented an easy target since no one was around.

Both Fender and Bollinger have since been charged with felony breaking and entering a building, larceny and possession of stolen goods. Authorities say the two are free on a $10,000 secured bond and neither yet has a North Carolina criminal defense attorney.

Under North Carolina General Statutes § 14-54, it is a crime to “break or enter any building.” Plain old breaking or entering is a misdemeanor, but if the crime is committed with the intent to commit larceny or a felony in the building, the offense is a felony. The statute actually defines a “building” as “any dwelling, dwelling house, uninhabited house, building under construction, building within the curtilage of a dwelling house, and any other structure designed to house or secure within it any activity or property.” The law says that anyone found to breaks into any building with intent to commit any felony or larceny shall be punished as a Class H felon.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”

An employee of Macy’s in Charlotte’s SouthPark Mall was charged yesterday with embezzling more than $2,000 from the department store. The woman, Shamika Freeman, 27, was arrested over the weekend and later released from Mecklenburg jail on a $3,000 bond.

The woman was a cashier at Macy’s and was questioned by company officials after they uncovered a series of suspicious transactions on her terminal. Managers at the store decided to inform policy after failing to resolve the situation and called Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Saturday afternoon.

The woman admitted to Macy’s management that she had made 17 fake refund transactions since last September. The cashier told her bosses that she knew in each case that the items that were being returned had never actually been paid for. The cashier then returned the items and placed the money on store gift cards and gave the gift cards to a currently unknown person.

Cash Register Charlotte North Carolina DUI DWI Criminal Lawyer Attorney.gifEmbezzlement is a kind of property crime. It happens when a person, who has been entrusted to manage or monitor someone else’s money or property, steals all or part of that money or property for their own personal gain. The key to charging someone with embezzlement is that the person had legal access to another’s money or property, but not legal ownership of it.

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