Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Fair Play Man on Arson Charges

Kyle Jacob Bowman

Kyle Jacob Bowman

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Fair Play man on charges of Arson – 2nd Degree yesterday.

23 year old Kyle Jacob Bowman of S. Davis Drive was booked into the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office yesterday around 4:59pm on a Temporary Custody Order until an arrest warrant was obtained.

Last Friday afternoon, February 10th, deputies from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to the S. Davis Drive address in regards to reports of a structure fire. The deputies began an investigation and discovered that an individual, later identified as Bowman, was pulled off a trampoline by a bystander to get him to safety.

Bowman was transported by paramedics for treatment in regards to the fire and the Criminal Investigations Division was notified. Investigators then requested assistance from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in regards to the investigation.

As the investigation continued, investigators were able to determine that Bowman had intentionally set the fire to the residence.

Bowman remains in custody at the Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

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

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Charges Five Arrested over the Weekend with Fugitive from Justice Warrants

Aaron Keith Keener

Aaron Keith Keener

Andrew Thomas Epps

Andrew Thomas Epps

Brantley Keith Black

Brantley Keith Black

Clara Leeann Palmer

Clara Leeann Palmer

James Douglas Roberts

James Douglas Roberts

Jeremy Stephen Black

Jeremy Stephen Black

By:Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————–The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has charged five individuals arrested over the weekend with Fugitive from Justice warrants in three separate incidents.

The first incident occurred early Saturday morning when a deputy initiated a traffic stop on Wells Highway based on a traffic violation for an improperly displayed tag. The deputy made contact with the driver, 38 year old Jeremy Stephen Black of Shady Lane in Westminster. Black was unable to provide any proper identification in regards to the vehicle.

The deputy checked on passenger identification as well and discovered that a passenger, 44 year old Brantley Keith Black of Shady Lane in Westminster, was wanted in the state of Georgia and the deputy was notified by dispatch that Georgia wished to extradite.

The driver was placed under arrest in regards to the investigation for improper display, no proof of ownership and operating an uninsured vehicle. The vehicle was towed from the scene and both Jeremy Black and Brantley Black were transported to the Detention Center, where Brantley Black was served a Fugitive from Justice warrant and a hold was placed on him by Probation authorities in Georgia.

Jeremy Black was released from the Detention Center on February 11th on a combined $905.00 personal recognizance bond.

The second incident occurred Saturday evening when a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division was dispatched to Woodall Shoals Road in Longcreek in regards to an officer assist with officers from Rabun County, GA after a pursuit from Georgia concluded in South Carolina. The deputy discovered that 20 year old Aaron Keith Keener of Dud Creek Road in Clayton, GA, had an outstanding warrant from the state of Georgia.

Keener was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center early Sunday morning and was served with a Fugitive from Justice warrant. Keener was given a $10,000 surety bond on the Oconee County charges and a hold was placed on Keener by Rabun County, GA authorities. Keener was released from the Detention Center into their custody earlier today.

The third incident occurred yesterday evening when a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division met with officers from Stephens County, GA in regards to reports of three fugitives hiding in Oconee County. The officers responded near the area of Chattooga Ridge Road and Whetstone Road in the Mountain Rest area. With assistance from an officer with the US Forest Service, the three individuals were located in a small camping area in the woods nearby.

The three suspects, 31 year old James Douglas Roberts of Davis Avenue, 32 year old Andrew Thomas Epps and 31 year old Clara Leeann Palmer, both of Briarwood Drive, all in Toccoa, GA, were booked into the Detention Center early this morning on Temporary Custody Orders until Fugitive from Justice warrants were obtained today. A hold has been placed on all three by authorities in Stephens County, GA.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Fair Play Man on Outstanding Drug Warrant

Lance Thomas Tranah

Lance Thomas Tranah

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————-The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Fair Play man Friday evening on an outstanding drug warrant pertaining to the 10th Operation Infinity Drug Sweep from 2015.

46 year old Lance Thomas Tranah of Short Street was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 8:09pm. Tranah remains in custody at this time on a combined $50,000 surety bond.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division observed an individual on a green in color dirt bike traveling on N. David Drive in Fair Play that did not have a tag. The deputy initiated a traffic stop but the driver of the bike would not pull over.

The pursuit eventually ended on Shelor Ferry Road as the driver attempted to take the bike up a dirt hill into the woods. After deputies detained him, they were able to determine his identity. The bike was towed from the scene.

Tranah was charged in a traffic ticket for Failure to stop for a Blue Light and was served the outstanding drug warrant. Tranah was also charged with a Probation Violation and was served two outstanding Magistrate’s Bench Warrants.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Releases Information on Two Shootings from Earlier Today

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————————–Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw says that the Sheriff’s Office is reporting two shootings that occurred this morning in Oconee County, including one that involved a Sheriff’s Office Deputy that has been turned over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Sheriff Crenshaw says that the 911 Communications Center received a call of multiple shots fired into a residence on Brock Road during the night. One victim received one gunshot wound to the shoulder and was transported by paramedics. As a result of the investigation, deputies were able to obtain the identity of the shooter.

Sheriff’s investigators were notified around 2:00a.m. this morning and began the process of obtaining a search warrant along with arrest warrants that include multiple counts of attempted murder and began to set up a perimeter around the suspect’s home. The suspect, according to Sheriff Crenshaw, left the residence with a passenger inside. Both individuals in the vehicle were white males.

The investigators activated their blue lights and sirens and tried to initiate a traffic stop but the suspect would not pull over and a short pursuit began, according to Sheriff Crenshaw. The vehicle came to a stop in the middle of Blackjack Road near Greenfield Road which was approximately three to four miles from the suspect residence.

According to Sheriff Crenshaw, shots were fired from inside of the vehicle and one deputy returned fire into the vehicle. The passenger and the suspect both sustained gunshot wounds; however, investigators believe at this time that the passenger was struck from gunfire inside of the vehicle while SLED is making a determination on how the suspect was struck by gunfire.

The passenger and the suspect were both transported to receive medical treatment. The Sheriff’s Office does not believe any threats currently exist that would endanger the public.

“Due to the fact of the ongoing SLED investigation, the Sheriff’s Office will not be releasing any suspect, victim, or deputy involved information until SLED has determined it would not interfere in their investigation,” according to Sheriff Crenshaw. “The Sheriff’s Office has obtained arrest warrants against the suspect in the Brock Road shooting and we will release that information once the investigation is complete. The deputy has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.”

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Upstate Woman on Grand Larceny Warrant

Linda Jane Lyle

Linda Jane Lyle

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested an Upstate woman earlier today on an outstanding Grand Larceny warrant.

60 year old Linda Jane Lyle was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 1:25am. The Detention Center lists Lyle’s address as Martin Road in Starr, SC while the arrest warrants lists her address at Michelle Lane in Seneca.

Lyle was booked in by a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division after the deputy picked Lyle up at the Townville Post Office from the custody of the South Carolina Highway Patrol after the Sheriff’s Office was notified that troopers were out with Lyle and that Lyle had the outstanding warrant.

On April 24th of 2016, a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division was informed by a victim of a larceny that occurred on Butts Farm Road near Westminster. The victim stated that some jewelry had been stolen and that Lyle had been a house sitter at the residence.

The case was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division. As the investigation continued, it was determined based upon the evidence that Lyle had stolen not only the jewelry but other items in the home and had sold those items, which were eventually identified by the victims.

Based upon the evidence gathered, an arrest warrants charging Lyle with Grand Larceny was obtained by the investigator.

Lyle was released from the Detention Center earlier today on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant David Smith Named President of Tri-State Law Enforcement Association

Sergeant David Smith

Sergeant David Smith

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————-Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant David Smith was named President of the Tri-State Law Enforcement Association during a meeting in December of last year.

Smith, who is an investigator in the Criminal Investigation Division, has worked in law enforcement for almost 30 years. Smith began his career in April of 1987 with the Seneca Police Department and then began his employment in August of 1988 with the Sheriff’s Office.

The Tri-State Law Enforcement Association is made of counties that border Oconee County in North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. The meetings are held to discuss law enforcement issues, to network and to share cases and information to help all agencies solve and prevent crimes in their respective counties and cities.

“Oconee County is one of the few counties that border 10 other counties,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “Oconee is bordered in South Carolina by Pickens and Anderson Counties, by Macon, Jackson and Transylvania Counties in North Carolina and by Rabun, Stephens, Habersham and Franklin Counties in Georgia. Also, we have a major interstate and major US and state highways that run in and through our county and others that border us. With the mobility of people to move around, crime does not set up camp in one county and stays there. This is why the Tri-State Law Enforcement Association is so important in helping all of law enforcement partners to solve crime and build partnerships that benefit all of our citizens. We are proud that Sgt. Smith is the President of this important organization.”

The Association traces its roots back to the mid-1960’s, according to retired Oconee County Sheriff Earl Holcombe, when a group of officers got together for coffee to discuss a string of robberies that had occurred across state lines. The Association grew from there, according to Holcombe.

The Tri-State Law Enforcement Association meets bi-monthly on the first Thursday of those months. The meetings rotate between agencies in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Files Additional Charges against Westminster Man Arrested in Wednesday Morning Traffic Stop

Matthew Blake Sosby

Matthew Blake Sosby

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office filed additional charges yesterday against a Westminster man arrested early Wednesday morning after a traffic stop.

43 year old Matthew Blake Sosby was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 4:17am and charged with Possession of a Weapon by a Person Convicted of a Violent Felony and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. The arrest warrants obtained against Sosby on Wednesday list his address at Moore Hill Road while the new arrest warrants list Sosby’s address at Edgewater Drive.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division initiated a traffic stop on a maroon Toyota Tacoma on E. Bennett Road and after receiving consent to search the vehicle, discovered a quantity of narcotics and two firearms. The deputy was notified by dispatch that Sosby was prohibited from possessing firearms the morning of the traffic stop.

Sosby was given a combined $75,000 surety bond and the Sheriff’s Office continued their investigation.

Sosby was also charged for a violation of his probation and was given a $25,000 surety bond on that charge.

As the investigation continued, it was determined that one of the firearms discovered as a result of the traffic stop, an antique brass flintlock pistol, was stolen. The pistol is valued at $4,000.

Based on that information, an investigator from the Criminal Investigations Division obtained an arrest warrant against Sosby on charges of Receiving Stolen Goods.

Meanwhile, investigators determined, based upon evidence obtained in a separate investigation by the Criminal Investigations Division that Sosby broke into a residence on Edgewater Drive in Westminster sometime between October 9th and October 16th of 2016.

Investigators also determined that Sosby carried away, according to arrest warrants, a multitude of firearms, including some collectible antique firearms, with a value of around $250,000.

Based upon that evidence, Sosby has been charged in arrest warrants by investigators with one count of First Degree Burglary and one count of Grand Larceny with a value of $10,000 or more.

The antique firearm discovered during the traffic stop belonged to the individual who residence was broken into on Edgewater Drive. So far, five of the firearms taken from the Edgewater Drive address have been recovered by investigators.

Sosby was denied bond on the three newest charges against him. A hold has also been placed on Sosby by the US Marshals Service.

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

Northside Elementary School Collecting Donations for Safe Harbor in Memory of Chrissy Adams

Northside Flyer

(Walhalla, SC)—————————-Northside Elementary School in Seneca is currently collecting donations for Safe Harbor in memory of the late 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams.
The donations of paper products, laundry detergent pods, dishwasher detergent pods and liquid hand soap will be collected at the school thru February 22nd.
Students may bring items to their classroom or items may be dropped off at the school office located at 710 N. Townville Street in Seneca.
For more information, contact Northside Elementary School.

Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild Provides Quilts to Oconee County Sheriff’s Office

From L-R: Sandy Hawkins and Nancy Porter

From L-R: Sandy Hawkins and Nancy Porter

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————————Quilting has for many years been a great tradition here in the Golden Corner and quilters from a local quilter’s guild have donated some of their creations to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office to assist citizens in our county.

“This is another tool in our proverbial toolbox that we can use to comfort and help the citizens of our county,” says Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw. “The Sheriff’s Office is very appreciative of this donation.”

The Comfort Quilt Committee of the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild has collected quilts from members and has distributed them to various charities and organizations, including GHS Lila Doyle, the children’s area at Oconee Memorial Hospital, the Cottingham Hospice House, Helping Hands and Safe Harbor.

Now, those creations have made their way into the vehicles of the Uniform Patrol Division to provide comfort to children and families as officers respond to calls for service.

On Tuesday of this week, Nancy Porter and Sandy Hawkins brought by two bags of quilts to go along with those who have been donated already. To Nancy, Sandy and the rest of the Quilters Guild, it is a way to give back to their community and to help those who are in need.

Nancy and Sandy said that they had learned that in some cases when law enforcement responds to calls, there are sometimes children and families that could be displaced or may have to leave their homes for some reason, including those time when the weather turns cold.

Therefore, the Comfort Quilt Committee wanted keep those families and children as warm and as comfortable as possible and initially donated five quilts to place in the Uniform Patrol Vehicles.

The goal, according to Nancy and Sandy, is to have quilts in all patrol vehicles for the 35 Uniform Patrol Deputies of the Sheriff’s Office. According to Nancy and Sandy, two comfort quilts a week can be made.

The Mission Statement from the Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild reads as follows: “We are committed to preserving and continuing the traditions, culture and history of quilting in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties here in the Golden Corner of northwestern South Carolina.”

The Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild, which traces its roots back to the 1980’s, meets the first Monday of each month at 7pm at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension at 214 North Hampton Road in Seneca.

For more information about the Lake and Mountain Quilters Guild, visit their website at LMQG.org or visit their Facebook page.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeking the Public’s Help in Regards to January 2017 Lowe’s Shoplifting

Lowe's Shoplifting - January 9th, 2017 (1)

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)——————————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in solving a January 2017 shoplifting that occurred at the Seneca location of Lowe’s at BI-LO Place.

The Sheriff’s Office is also seeking the public’s help in identifying two individuals, a white male and a white female, in relation to the incident.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to the store location on January 9th in relation to a shoplifting that occurred on January 6th in which, according to a store employee, a white male and a white female were observed taking a Dewalt Impact Driver set and a Dewalt Hammer Drive set. The combined total value of the items taken is approximately is $258.

The white female in question is seen wearing a white hoodie and black leggings and she is observed walking out of the store with the items. Before that, a white male is observed to helping her pick out the items.

The male was observed leaving the store, whereupon a short time later, the female was seen getting into an older model white in color SUV.

If you have any information concerning this January 6th, 2017 shoplifting at the Lowe’s location at BI-LO place in Seneca or the identity of the two individuals in relation to this incident, you are asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or 864-638-STOP. You don’t have to give your name when you call Crimestoppers and all information given is confidential. If your information leads to an arrest and/or the correct identity of the individuals in questions, you could be eligible for a cash reward.