Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Charges Westminster Man with Possession of a Stolen Vehicle

Jeremy Stephen Black

Jeremy Stephen Black

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)—————————————-The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office has charged a Westminster man with being in possession of a stolen vehicle.

39 year old Jeremy Stephen Black of Shady Lane was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 12:27pm. He was released from the Detention Center yesterday on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Back on Saturday, February 11th, a deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division on routine patrol initiated a traffic stop on Wells Highway based on a traffic violation for an improperly displayed tag. The deputy made contact with the driver, identified as Jeremy Black. 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, Jeremy Black, 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 at that time by Probation authorities in Georgia.

Jeremy Black was released from the Detention Center later on February 11th on a combined $905.00 personal recognizance bond. Brantley Black was turned over to Probation officials in Stephens County, GA on February 13th.

During the course of the traffic stop, the deputy discovered that the South Carolina tag on the vehicle was reportedly for a 1990 Toyota Truck; however, the vehicle that Jeremy Black was driving was a 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV. The vehicle also had two separate VIN numbers, one in one location that came back to a 1990 Toyota Truck and one in another location that came back to the Toyota Cruiser which was out of West Virginia. According to the deputy, it appeared that someone had tried to alter one of the VIN numbers.

After the traffic stop, the vehicle was towed. Further investigation by the Criminal Investigations Division, with assistance from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and after locating the secondary VIN number, revealed that the Toyota Cruiser had been reported stolen out of Rutherford County, NC in November of 2016 and that the vehicle was valued at $15,800. The deputy spoke with the owner and the vehicle was confirmed to be stolen.

Based upon the evidence that was gathered, a warrant was obtained on the stolen vehicle charge against Jeremy Black.

Oconee Federal Savings and Loan to Sponsor Barbeque Supper at Crimestoppers Golf Tournament

Oconee Federal Logo 3-color

Sheriff's Badge

Crimestoppers Logo

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————Crimestoppers of Oconee County, Inc. is announcing today that Oconee Federal Savings and Loan will sponsor the barbeque supper that will be served after the upcoming 2017 Crimestoppers of Oconee County, Inc. Golf Tournament.

“On behalf of our Crimestoppers board and the men and women of law enforcement in Oconee County, we want to thank Oconee Federal Savings and Loan Corporation for their support in sponsoring our barbeque supper after the Crimestoppers golf tournament this year,” says Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt, who is the Sheriff’s Office coordinator for the Crimestoppers program in Oconee County. “Oconee Federal Savings and Loan Corporation has been a longtime supporter of the Crimestoppers golf tournament and they have been a great friend of law enforcement in Oconee County for many years. Their sponsorship this year continues that great friendship and we are certainly thankful for all their support.”

The tournament is set for Thursday, May 4th, 2017 at the beautiful par-71, 6,051 yard Oconee Country Club in Seneca with registration beginning at 10am and the tournament kicking off at Noon.

Any questions regarding the 2017 Crimestoppers of Oconee County, Inc. Golf Tournament, including how to register a team and/or become a hole sponsor, can be directed to Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer at the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4199 or by e-mail at jwatt@oconeelaw.com.

Walhalla Rotary Club to Host BBQ Fundraiser

Rotary Club Logo

(Walhalla, SC)—————————-The Walhalla Rotary Club will be hosting a BBQ fundraiser on Make A Difference Monday.

The fundraise will be held on Monday, March 20th and will feature BBQ, a bun, baked beans, cole slaw, homemade brownies and a canned soda for $10.00, which does include tax.

The BBQ will be delivered to your business at an agreed upon time between 11:30am and 1:30pm.

The fundraiser will benefit Walhalla Rotary Club Charities, which includes the LEAP Project (Law Enforcement Appreciation Project for the Walhalla Police Department and the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.

If you have any questions, contact Brian at 864-723-8062 or at bcassell@ghs.org or Jordanie Mertil at 864-280-4611 or at jmertil@ghs.org.

2017 Crimestoppers of Oconee County, Inc. Golf Tournament Now Less Than Two Months Away

Sheriff's Badge

Crimestoppers Logo

Oconee Country Club

Oconee Country Club

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The 2017 Crimestoppers of Oconee County, Inc. Golf Tournament is now less than two months away and there is still time for you and your business or organization to get involved.

“On behalf of our Crimestoppers board and the men and women of law enforcement in Oconee County, we want to thank all the businesses, organizations, companies and individuals who have supported us over the years and that includes this year,” says Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt, who is the Sheriff’s Office coordinator for the Crimestoppers program in Oconee County. “When you support our golf tournament, you are helping all law enforcement in the county in our efforts to make Oconee County a safer place to live, work and play. Even though we are getting closer to our tournament and time is getting short, everyone still has a chance to get involved.”

The tournament is set for Thursday, May 4th, 2017 at the beautiful par-71, 6,051 yard Oconee Country Club in Seneca.

Registration will begin at 10am and the tournament will have a Noon shotgun start.

The field will consist of 25 4-man Captain’s Choice teams. The cost per player is $60 dollars or $240 dollars for a team. Mulligans will be sold at two for $5.

Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams in each flight.

Hole sponsorships are available for $100 each. Also this year, for $150 each, hole sponsors can have their hole sponsorship signs displayed not only at the golf tournament but also at the Crimestoppers Apple Festival Car Show in September in Westminster during the 2017 Apple Festival.

A big part of previous tournaments is back this year, as Crimestoppers will award $500 to anyone who scores a hole-in-one on the par-3 6th hole.

Also as part of this year’s tournament, a longest drive contest will be held on the par-5 8th hole while the closest to the pin contest will be held on the par-3 number 16th hole.

Goodie bags for the tournament will be supplied by McDaniel Supply Company while lunch will be supplied by Chick-fil-A in Seneca. Little Pigs BBQ in Seneca will provide a barbeque supper after the tournament.

Any questions regarding the 2017 Crimestoppers of Oconee County, Inc. Golf Tournament, including how to register a team and/or become a hole sponsor, can be directed to Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer at the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4199 or by e-mail at jwatt@oconeelaw.com.

The deadline for team registration and hole sponsorships is at Noon on Friday, April 28th, 2017.

Proceeds raised from the Crimestoppers golf tournament, after expenses are paid, go into the Crimestoppers of Oconee County, Inc. general fund. The fund is used to pay reward money for tips that leads to arrests and for the promotion of the Crimestoppers program, which includes, for example, the purchase of promotional materials.

Crimestoppers of Oconee County, Inc. is a 501c(3) organization and the program does not receive taxpayer dollars nor is there is a line item in the budget of any law enforcement agency in Oconee County for the Crimestoppers program. All the money that runs the Crimestoppers of Oconee County, Inc. organization comes from donations and fundraisers that are held each year.

Between April of 2013 and January of this year, the Crimestoppers program has paid out approximately $5,275.00 in reward money for 37 cases where arrests have been made or the cases have been cleared.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeks the Public’s Help Regarding Three February 2017 Shopliftings at the Seneca Walmart

February 2017 Seneca 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 three separate shoplifting cases in which TV’s were taken from the Seneca Walmart location in February of this year.

The Sheriff’s Office is also seeking the public’s help in identifying an individual in relation to all three shoplifting cases.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division spoke with an employee of the store, which is located on Sandifer Boulevard, in regards to a white male who, according to the employee, came into the store on the mornings of February 21st, February 24th and February 26th and took TV sets each time without paying for the items.

The total combined value of all the TV sets that were taken in the three cases is around
$2,009.76.

If you have any information on these three shoplifting cases in which TV’s were taken from the Seneca Walmart on February 21st, February 24th and February 26th and/or the identity of the individual in relation to the shoplifting cases, 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 tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a case reward.

S.C. Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week This Week in South Carolina

SCEMD Logo

Release Courtesy of Derrec Becker
Public Information Officer
South Carolina Emergency Management Division

COLUMBIA, S.C. (March 6, 2017) — Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed that South Carolina Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week for 2017 will be observed March 5-11.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the National Weather Service jointly sponsor the week to remind people that severe storms, tornadoes and flash floods are significant hazards in South Carolina and people need to take proper safety precautions.

SCEMD and the National Weather Service are promoting awareness of procedures that help keep you safe during floods and tornadoes.

A highlight of the week will be the annual statewide tornado drill. The drill is conducted in close coordination with the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. The State Superintendent of Education is encouraging schools statewide to participate. South Carolina has received a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission to use the Tornado Warning product on NOAA tone-alert weather radio when the drill is conducted. During the drill, the National Weather Service will use a real-event code, TOR. The “TOR” code will activate tone-alert weather radios that are set to receive tornado warnings, and those radios will broadcast the exercise message.

The statewide tornado drill will be conducted Wednesday, March 8, at 9 a.m. Public schools, state and local Emergency Management, the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, and others will participate in this annual event. The purpose of the drill is to test communication systems, safety procedures, mitigation processes, etc.

For further information on Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week, contact your county emergency management director, SCEMD or your nearest National Weather Service office. SCEMD’s Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week page can be found at scemd.org.

Prepare for any Emergency
• Develop an Emergency Action Plan for your home, place of business or other that includes what you would do in case of major emergency or disaster.
• Develop a communication plan that enables you to reach out to family members when normal lines of communication are not functioning.
• Have an emergency kit for your home, place of work and vehicle. Remember, “The First 72 are on You.”

Before a Tornado
• Be alert to changing weather conditions.
• Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
• Look for approaching storms.
• Look for the following danger signs:
• Dark, often greenish sky
• Large hail
• A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
• Loud roar, similar to a freight train
• If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

During a Tornado
• If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately.
• Get indoors to a pre-designated shelter area such as a basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
• If in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.
• If unable to get indoors, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of potential flooding and flying debris.
• Never try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.

After a Tornado
• Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
• Avoid downed power lines and report them to your utility company.
• Stay out of damaged buildings.

Before a Flood
• Avoid building in a flood prone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
• Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
• Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
• Contact community officials to find out if they are planning to construct barriers (levees, berms or floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the homes in your area.
• Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
• Review your insurance policy. Flood coverage is not part of most homeowner, mobile home or renter’s insurance policies. There is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect.

During a Flood
• Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
• If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
• Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
• Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away.

After a Flood
• After a flood, listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
• Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
• Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Even if the roadway of a bridge or elevated highway looks normal, the support structures below may be damaged.
• Stay clear of downed power lines and report them to your power company.
• Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly to foundations. Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters.
• Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and other harmful chemicals.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Arrests Seneca Man on First Degree Burglary Charges

Casey Len Auten

Casey Len Auten

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————-The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Seneca man over the weekend on multiple charges, including charges of First Degree Burglary.

36 year old Casey Len Auten of Janda Road was booked into the Oconee County Detention Center around 12:15pm Saturday. As of 10:15am this morning, Auten remains in custody at the Detention Center on a combined $52,736.00 surety bond.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division was dispatched to the Janda Road address the evening of March 3rd in reference to a reported burglary. The deputy spoke to the victim, who stated that a door to the residence had been forced open. The victim discovered the burglary after leaving the residence and being gone for a few hours. The victim and deputy discovered that some items had been taken from the residence.

The next morning, another deputy responded to the same address in regards to a reported separate burglary incident. The victim advised the responding deputy that a family member of the victim, Auten, was inside the residence. Auten lives in a separate dwelling on the property. After a verbal discussion between the two, the suspect left in the victim’s 2014 Ford Fiesta.

The vehicle was observed by the deputy on Keowee School Road and the deputy initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle on Keowee School Road near Hightower Hill Drive. Auten gave the deputy consent to search the vehicle, upon which the deputy located a quantity of marijuana in the vehicle along with some prescription medication that was prescribed to the victim that was reported missing. There were also other items that belonged to the victim in the vehicle as well. The vehicle was turned over to the victim in the case.

Auten was arrested and transported to the Detention Center, where besides the Burglary charge, Auten was also charged in a citation with Simple Possession of Marijuana and in an arrest warrant with Petit Larceny. The charges against Auten were based on evidence gathered as a result of the investigation.

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

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeks the Public’s Help in Investigation of Convenience Store Larceny

7-11 Larceny - February 26th, 2017 (1)

7-11 Larceny - February 26th, 2017(2)

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)—————————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in its investigation into a recent larceny that occurred at a Highway 123 convenience store.

The Sheriff’s Office is also seeking the public’s help in identifying an individual in relation to the larceny.

A deputy from the Uniform Patrol Division responded to the 7-Eleven convenience store on Highway 123 at Old Clemson Highway late in the morning of February 26th in regards to reports of a larceny. The deputy met with an employee who told the deputy that a customer had stolen money from behind the counter.

Camera footage from the store’s surveillance cameras showed a black male wearing a blue jacket and khaki pants go behind the counter and take an undisclosed amount of money from behind the counter. The larceny took place during the early morning hours of February 26th.

The individual was seen getting into a red or maroon colored SUV and then proceeded to leave the scene.

If you have any information on this larceny that occurred the early morning hours of February 26th at the 7-Eleven location on Highway 123 at Old Clemson Highway and the identity of the individual in relation to the larceny, 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 tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Announces Additional Arrests in Fifteenth “Operation Infinity” Drug Round-Up

Cherish Leanna Wirtz

Cherish Leanna Wirtz

Joshua Edward Wirtz

Joshua Edward Wirtz

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)———————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is announcing additional arrests today in the fifteenth “Operation Infinity” drug sweep round-up that began on November 3rd, 2016.

In all, 27 individuals were being sought on a variety of drug charges involving methamphetamine, prescription drugs, cocaine and marijuana. Some individuals in the drug sweep were being sought on charges of Unlawful Neglect of a Child as well as charges for attempts to purchase pseudoephedrine above the legal limits allowed.

The additional arrests bring to 21 the total number of individuals arrested so far. Here is the name of the additional individuals arrested and their charges according to warrants:

1) Cherish Leanna Wirtz
Westminster, SC – Address according to Arrest Warrant
Turbeville, SC – Address according to Detention Center
26 years old
Unlawful Neglect of a Child – 1 count
Booked into the Oconee County Detention Center on March 2nd around 6:32pm
Wirtz was released from the Detention Center on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond on March 3rd.
Wirtz was transported from the Clarendon County Detention Center to the Oconee County Detention Center

2) Joshua Eugene Wirtz
Westminster, SC – Address according to the Arrest Warrant
Turbeville, SC – Address according to Detention Center
26 years old
Unlawful Neglect of a Child – 1 count
Booked into the Oconee County Detention Center on March 2nd around 6:33pm
Wirtz was released from the Detention Center on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond on March 3rd
Wirtz was transported from the Clarendon County Detention Center to the Oconee County Detention Center

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation and due to that fact, the names of the other individuals being sought will not be released at this time.

Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Seeking the Public’s Help in Locating Subject Wanted on Drug Warrants

Timothy Logan Compton

Timothy Logan Compton

Search Warrant Execution - Evatt Road - March 1st, 2017 (1)

Search Warrant Execution - Evatt Road - March 2nd, 2017 (2)

By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer

(Walhalla, SC)————————————The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in locating a Seneca area man wanted on three outstanding drug warrants.

Yesterday, agents from the Narcotics Division of the Sheriff’s Office along with members of the Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, the Criminal Investigations Division and the Uniform Patrol Division executed a search warrant late yesterday afternoon at an address on Evatt Road just off of Keowee School Road. The acquisition of the search warrant came about due to 45 year old Timothy Logan Compton of the Evatt Road address being charged with distributing methamphetamine.

The officers were seeking Compton, however, Compton was not located at the scene and agents are continuing their investigation in regards to locating him.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Timothy Logan Compton, you are asked to 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.