Posts Tagged ‘crime’

Desperate pharmacy patients turn to desperate measures

November 1, 2011

News item: Rock Hill was hit by another pharmacy robbery Sunday when two suspects demanded pills at a CVS drugstore, then fled with police in hot pursuit. The incident follows a rash of similar stick-ups in the area.

Another news item: Workers signing up for annual enrollment in their employer’s health insurance plans are reporting sticker shock at a hefty increase in premiums, particularly for prescription coverage.

* * * * *

For those tired of an unceasing spate of bad news about health care costs, a new option is gaining popularity: robbing the local drugstore.

And it’s not just junkies, pillheads and career criminals looking for ways to juggle expenses that are committing the crimes. Increasingly, the elderly, the disabled, and just plain folk are threatening violence if they can’t get their meds at a reasonable cost.

“I have to have my flu shot. If I catch the flu, I’ll die,” said 62-year-old Sarah Johnson. “My insurance (company) says they’ll reimburse me for the $25 but there’s paperwork involved and it takes weeks. For me, it’s just easier to brandish a weapon and demand the shot. Bob is my regular pharmacist, and he knows I won’t shoot him. But obviously, he doesn’t want to take any chances.”

Johnson showed up at her neighborhood Walgreen’s to get the vaccine last week when the human resources director holding her company’s benefits meeting said it would be free. Told by store personnel it was free only as a reimbursement, Johnson became agitated and left, then returned later with a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol.

“I held that gun on them the whole time they were prepping and  injecting me,” Johnson said. “It was tough because I usually shoot with my right hand, but the chair I sat at required me to get the shot in my right arm. Good thing I didn’t have to shoot because I’m wild as hell with my left hand.”

Johnson said her pharmacist was understanding but terrified during the armed encounter.

“I’ve known Sarah for years,” said druggist Robert Henderson. “She’s a regular customer and a good friend, so I didn’t pull out the Luger I keep behind the counter and kill her.”

A 32-year-old mother of three trying a similar technique at the Rite Aid wasn’t quite so lucky.

Marianne Burns said her insurance plan used to cover the allergy medicine her triplet second-graders needed, but the formula became generic during the summer. The over-the-counter variety costs about three times as much as what her insurance used to cover, so she arrived at the pharmacy last Sunday carrying an AK-47 modified to discharge armor-piercing bullets.

“I thought I might be able to just shoplift it,” said the former teacher from York County Jail, where she’s being held on assorted terrorism charges. “But one of my girls started crying, which drew the attention of the security guard. That’s when I had to start shooting.”

Fortunately, no one was injured in the attack, which prompted Burns to say the attempt “was worth it.”

“There’s a lot less paperwork to fill out when you’re preparing a defense on federal charges than there would be if I used my flexible spending account,” she said.

John Leeman, a 76-year-old retiree, faced a particularly daunting challenge on his trip to pick up a prescription. He’s lucky enough to be covered by health insurance from his old union job, but he’s also tapping into some Medicare coverage. The conflicts and duplication between the two plans were certain to be problematic, he thought.

“I needed my diabetes medicine. I wanted the EpiPen with the measured insulin dose and I was afraid they’d make me take the bulk stuff,” Leeman said. “So I brought my sword along.”

Leeman had picked up the souvenir saber during his service in Korea in 1952. It sat unused in a closet for over half a century before he realized it could be used in an armed assault.

“Sure enough, that’s what they tried to do to me,” Leeman said. “So I pulled out my sword and ran the pharmacy tech right through. As his lifeblood poured from the gaping wound, he staggered to the shelf and got me the EpiPen.”

“It’s just a pharmacy tech. No big deal,” said head pharmacist Andy Wells. “Now if it had been a cashier, that would’ve been different. But I know John — he’s a good ol’ boy — and he was just doing what he thought needed to be done.”

Pharmacy robber presents his CVS ExtraCare card to receive extra discounts on his haul

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South Carolina preparing for its moment in the spotlight

October 28, 2011

It’s less than three months now before South Carolina enters the national spotlight with its Republican presidential primary, and the state is busy preparing for its close-up.

Some of the stories are related to politics, while others hint at the state’s historic position as the backward, inbred laughingstock of the nation.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum recognizes his people when he sees them, and has spent considerable time campaigning in the Palmetto State. The pious Pennsylvanian has visited 25 times more than any other candidate, spreading his message of social conservatism, family values, and not googling him.

For all the work he’s spent focusing his efforts on the nation’s second primary, recent polls show only 1% of the state’s Republicans say they’ll vote for him.

“These polls mean nothing, absolutely nothing,” Santorum insisted Tuesday, and he may have a point. Nationwide, it appears many voters have yet to tune in to the 2012 race, with a remarkably low 54% of all Americans able to name even one GOP candidate.

Santorum’s latest visit was in Spartanburg, where local Republican officials managed to find about 80 people willing to look at and listen to him. Santorum used the opportunity to talk about his Christian faith, using the story of his disabled daughter’s close call with death to elicit the crowd’s interest.

He compared his relationship with his daughter to his own relationship with God.

“That’s the way the Father looks at me,” Santorum said. “I am completely disabled in His eyes.”

“Amen” and “that’s right” responded some in the crowd.

“He’s strong on family,” said Alexia Newman, a Santorum supporter. “Before he’s through, he’ll have reached out to every (GOP) chairman in the state. It seems that sort of thing should matter.”

You’d think. But apparently, 99% of South Carolinians have their minds on other things. Like the legality of hauling their furniture out into the front yard.

Many towns and counties in this largely rural state have banned the unsightly practice, thinking it makes the place look like it’s inhabited by hicks. Now, anti-government fervor stoked by Tea Party types has reared its head, and a backlash against the laws has those who know how writing letters to the editor.

“I wonder how many of the county council have stayed in a house with no air conditioning during July,” wrote Rock Hill’s Peggy Murdock, a representative of the pro-beatup-couches faction. “A comfortable sofa outside in the shade might be a thing to be desired.”

It was probably while sitting on a mildew-saturated divan that several other South Carolinians had their thoughts wander toward plans for criminal mischief.

In Fort Mill, an 18-year-old student at MorningStar University (a Christian school that has its roots in the old Jim and Tammy Bakker televangelism ministry) could face disciplinary action for his actions. The unnamed man spent Tuesday night roaming the campus dressed all in black and jumping from behind bushes to scare fellow students.

“Many students ran away, scared and crying,” claimed a report in the local newspaper.

Sheriff’s deputies called to the campus to investigate suspicious activity quickly located the man. He said he was just playing a joke on some of his friends by peeking in their windows, but admitted his actions were “probably inappropriate.”

Meanwhile, in nearby Rock Hill, a man was accused of threatening a woman with a gun, then cutting her hair after an argument Monday.

Kenneth Abner, 35, was charged with pointing a firearm and criminal domestic violence. A woman visiting Abner was arguing with him when he reached into a drawer and produced a semiautomatic handgun. He then grabbed her by the hair, dragged her downstairs to the kitchen, and proceeded to cut her hair.

The woman kicked and hit Abner, then ran to a neighbor’s home where she called authorities. The police report did not state whether a shampoo, a manicure or the application of blonde highlights was included in the treatment.

Neither Abner nor his victim could say if they would vote for Rick Santorum.

Rick Santorum: Glowing with righteousness, or simply blonde highlights?

Lindsay Lohan confused by new developments

October 26, 2011

She seems even more troubled and confused than when she cut a stolen diamond necklace off her calf, then attended a movie premiere wearing an alcohol-monitoring shackle around her neck.

Actress Lindsay Lohan, facing multiple criminal charges and hoping to restart a sagging career, began a new phase of recovery yesterday with a bit of a hiccup. She showed up for community service at the Los Angeles county morgue ready to pose for nude photographs, then went to a Playboy photo studio to scrub toilets and wash floors.

“At least she was on time,” said county spokesman Ed Winter. “And, admittedly, she was kind of hot. But lounging on a corpse with her shirt off was not the kind of community service we had in mind.”

Lohan apparently is struggling with two big developments in her life: her sentence to spend 120 hours working at the morgue, and a reported $1 million offer to pose in Hugh Hefner’s men’s magazine. When the two events were scheduled to start the same day, Lohan reportedly became disoriented.

“I don’t think it was really that big a deal,” said Lohan’s publicist Steve Honig. “Those bathrooms at the photo shoot had gotten pretty scuzzy.”

Lohan arrived promptly at 6 a.m. at the coroner’s office as paparazzi’s helicopters buzzed overhead. She checked in with the community service coordinator, and was scheduled to start her day washing soiled linens. Instead, she doffed her clothes, wrapped herself in the blood-encrusted sheets, and began striking a series of provocative poses.

“You’d think she would’ve noticed that the only cameras around were the video security system,” said Winter. “But that didn’t stop her. She spent the better part of the morning romping among the corpses, teasing them with her discarded outfit and pretending to act surprised she was caught naked.”

Lohan spoke briefly with reporters after the morning-long session.

“They already had dozens of unclothed people in there, though I’ll admit they weren’t as animated as I was. And I was pert where they were sagging,” Lohan said. “The session was fun. I thought I’d be nervous exposing myself like that, but the crew was totally professional. They said nothing at all to make me uncomfortable. In fact, they were deathly quiet.”

After leaving the morgue, Lohan drove across town to the photo studio. There, she spent the afternoon wiping down equipment, cleaning bathrooms and taking out the trash.

“I have to admit, it was a difficult session,” said one Playboy photog who refused to be identified. “It was hard to get her to sit still. We had to follow her around the office and watch for opportunities where she would bend over, then quickly snap the shot.”

“I’m not sure how provocative our readers are going to find pictures of her dumping the garbage,” he added. “She had a real good technique, and always managed to empty every last scrap of paper. But I’m not certain that’s what our readership is looking for.”

By the time Lohan had finished her busy day, the court official supervising her probation had been notified of the mix-up. Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner, a veteran of Lohan’s excuses for why she acts like a crazy person, sounded frustrated with the latest outrage.

“Didn’t she notice the smell, the cold lockers, the toe tags?” Sautner asked. “And the Playboy thing doesn’t sit well with me either. Next time, she gets more than a monitoring cuff on her leg. I’m putting her in a whole-body jumpsuit. If she tries to take that off, it’s back to prison for Miss Lohan.”

"Oooh, that smell," Lohan noted. "Can't you smell that smell?"

How best to execute low-lifes?

October 3, 2011

The ascendency of Texas governor and execution hobbyist Rick Perry to the top ranks of Republican presidential candidates has re-opened the debate over capital punishment.

Unfortunately, the issue isn’t so much the propriety of a death penalty but how it is to be carried out. The Tea Partiers at a recent GOP debate cheered loudly when Perry’s record of signing 234 death warrants was mentioned, and you get the feeling these merciless supporters quibble only about how painful the execution could be.

In saner circles, the debate centers more on whether current methods used to end the lives of the condemned constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Was it “cruel” to employ now-discarded methods like hanging, beheading, crucifying and throwing-off-a-cliff? Most agree the answer is yes. Is it “unusual” in modern times to administer lethal injections that may cause pain to the executed? Sure, it’s unusual — that’s what makes it so cool.

The thirty-some states that opt to use the ultimate penalty to punish their most unruly citizens are currently wrestling with how to find the right mix of chemicals to effectively end the lives of those on Death Row. The traditional three-part cocktail had to be reconstituted when one ingredient, sodium thiopental, stopped being made by its European manufacturer.

After failed experiments in which tonic water and crushed limes were added to the cocktail, most states now go with the anesthetic pentobarbital. It knocks the patient unconscious, so that when the other drugs paralyze the victim and stop their heart, they’re in no position to complain.

To further add to the prisoner’s distress, Texas has ended the traditional last meal when several killers ruined it for everybody else by ordering huge spreads, then leaving the food untouched. Gone were the elaborate recipes that rendered previous executions almost palatable. In their place, the doomed will now have to order from the standard Department of Corrections menu. No specials, no appetizers, no “have you saved room for dessert?” queries from their server.

I thought about this unfortunate turn away from fine cuisine as I wrestled recently with an execution happening a little closer to home. My wife had discovered a couple of garden slugs near the herbs she grows on our deck railing, and decided to dispatch them with a thick coating of salt.

“You’re no better than those heartless chefs in Texas,” I complained. “The condemned want cilantro and lemongrass and turmeric flavoring their last meal, not sodium. Besides, the salt is going to damage the paint on the rail.”

Which then got me to thinking about why we use salt in the first place to kill slugs. (And the corollary question, could we execute murderers and rapists by pouring a giant box of Morton over them?)

The “slug,” the common name normally applied to any gastropod mollusca that lacks a shell, has a body that is made up mostly of water. They thrive in damp places such as tree bark, fallen logs and South Carolina. Their soft, slimy bodies are prone to desiccation, so dry weather, direct sun and salt are their natural enemies.

But why can’t they be stepped on like other common pests? Why do they require a flavoring be sprinkled on them? And might other saline condiments such as soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce work just as well?

According to my wife, a simple stomping has the unintended effect of getting slime all over the bottom of your shoe. “It’s really hard to get off,” Beth said. “And it stinks.”

Further research confirms that she’s right. Slugs produce two types of mucus, a thin and watery kind that aids in locomotion, and a thicker, stickier variety that coats the animal’s body and helps protect it from predators. When snatched up by a bird, for example, the slug can roll into a ball, toughen its hide, and hope its predator has the ball-handling skills of a Tony Romo and that it will soon be fumbled to the ground.

I also found out some other interesting facts about the slug:

  • Like their relative the snail, many slugs do have a shell but it’s inside their body. Not going to do much good there.
  • Slug breeds that do have an external shell are disappointed to discover it’s only vestigial, and thus too small to retract into for protection. These are known as “semi-slugs.”
  • Slugs undergo a 180-degree twisting of their internal organs during development. This results in an even doneness throughout the meat when cooking.
  • Their optical tentacles serve as rudimentary, light-sensing “eyes.” These can be regrown if lost, a handy alternative to the $600 I’m being asked to pay in vision coverage this year.
  • The slime trail that slugs leave behind serves several purposes: it allows them to cling to a vertical surface, and they can use it to advertise for a mate. (Using slime as a “come-on” exists in only one other species, the Newjersey bachelor).
  • Some slugs secrete slime cords to suspend themselves in mid-air during copulation, a move believed to be the inspiration for the Cirque du Soleil show, “La Magie Gastropodoea.”
  • Slugs are hermaphrodites, having both female and male reproductive organs. (No plans yet to have one of them appear on “Dancing With the Stars.”) Their corkscrewed, entangled penises must be chewed off by their mates during separation, or at least that’s what one claims will happen if the other “really loves” them.
  • Some slugs can self-amputate a portion of their tail to escape predators.
  • As agricultural pests, slugs can be controlled with iron phosphate or copper. Salting of the fields is not recommended, as it will result in decades of barren land.
  • In rural southern Italy, people swallow the garden slug Arion hortensis alive and whole as treatment for gastritis and peptic ulcers. Wikipedia understatedly describes the merit of this homeopathic remedy as “questionable.”

Several days after Beth assaulted the pair she found near her herb garden, both the death-dealing granules and the dried slug corpses had vanished from the railing, probably blown away in an early-autumn windstorm. All that remained was a white salt stain etched into the paint in the shape of a slug, like some chalk outline at a crime scene.

So while salt is now confirmed as a preferred method of execution for the slug, society is left to debate the best way to irretrievably remove our most-reviled members. Let’s kill them if we must, but let’s do it in a humane manner that respects their humanity.

And if they want escargot for their final meal, I say let ’em have it.

The common slug (unsalted)

Briefs from around the region

August 19, 2011

Faces booked on disorderly conduct charges

People apparently “disliked” a Facebook post so much that it caused a massive brawl.

Fort Mill Police blame the Facebook post and subsequent posts for sparking a street fight involving about 40 individuals, according to a police report.

Police responded to the fight just after 8:30 p.m. Aug. 9. They found the roadway filled with about 40 people, arguing, fighting and causing a large disturbance, the report states.

Police urged people to return to their homes and cars. Police determined postings on Facebook, a social networking site, started the arguments, which boiled over into the street.

Officers arrested two men for continuing to make threats while police were diffusing the situation.

Cecil Moore, 22, of Fort Mill, and Antonio Moore, 28, of York, were both charged with public disorderly conduct.

Amateur air marshal not appreciated

Authorities say a 36-year-old Greenville County man faces a $270 fine for having a gun and ammunition in his carry-on bag.

A police report says Christopher McCall of Simpsonville told authorities at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport that he forgot he had a pistol in his bag.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman John Allen says the gun and ammunition were discovered about 5:45 a.m. Tuesday as McCall passed through a security checkpoint, and airport police were notified.

Police issued him a $270 ticket for violating airport rules.

Car 54, where are you?

Authorities are looking for an inmate who escaped from a police officer and stole his cruiser in Colleton County.

Investigators say a deputy from Stephens County, Ga., was driving 37-year-old Perry Sullivan to the county in northeast Georgia on Thursday when the prisoner said he felt ill. The officer pulled over, and the inmate slipped out of his handcuffs and overpowered the officer, taking his patrol car and gun.

The officer was not hurt, and the police car was found a few hours later in Allendale County. But Sullivan has not been recaptured.

Pit bull caught playing head games

A dog found a human skull in Lancaster County, deputies say.

Maj. Matt Shaw said deputies were called around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday after a dog found a human skull in a wooded area off Old Lynwood Circle. A homeowner on the 1700 block of Lynwood Drive told deputies they found the skull in the backyard.

It was determined that the homeowner’s pit-bull had carried the skull into the backyard. She noticed there was something that looked like a skull in the backyard when she was chaining her dog back up.

The Lancaster County STAR Team and the South Carolina Foothills Search and Rescue searched the wooded area nearby for about five hours before finding the remains of a human.

The remains located did not include the skull, which had already been recovered in the backyard.

Pastor only rapes 3

Authorities now say former pastor Dale Richardson kidnapped four women and raped three of them between January 2010 and July of this year.

Dorchester County sheriff’s investigators say they will serve Richardson Thursday with warrants charging him with two counts each of criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping. He is already in jail without bail in connection with a July 27 kidnapping and rape incident and a June 21 incident in Summerville.

Investigators have been planning to charge Richardson with an Aug. 12, 2010, rape and kidnapping since last week. Maj. John Garrison said they recently found a third victim who was raped Jan. 5, 2010.

The woman told deputies she was hitchhiking on Rivers Avenue, trying to get a ride to a friend’s house. A man in a Chevrolet S-10 who called himself “Don” took her to a location on Mallard Road in Summerville and sexually assaulted her, Garrison said.

The January incident falls into a similar pattern as the later cases, in which the women were picked up and sexually assaulted on the grounds of Richardson’s Ladson church.

Summerville police say Richardson kidnapped a fourth woman but she was not sexually assaulted.

Really … cocaine makes great laxative

A Rock Hill woman wound up behind bars after reporting a break-in at her house, police say.

Tiffany Walls, 40, of Summit Street was charged with trafficking cocaine after more than 22 grams of the powdery substance was found wrapped in aluminum foil in her house, according to a police report.

Walls initially told officers she didn’t know what was in the packaging, and it wasn’t hers. She later told officers it was a laxative, the report states.

Field tests determined it was 22 grams of cocaine.

Walls called Rock Hill police to her home Sunday afternoon to report someone had broken into her house.

She told officers the break-in occurred between Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon, and about $100 in change was stolen from a bedroom closet.

She suspected the burglar broke in through a broken window in the back of the house.

While officers were investigating and searching for fingerprints they found the foil with the powder-like substance inside.

Romance is up and down

A Virginia couple plans to get married this weekend on Carowinds’ newest roller coaster, the Intimidator.

Wendy Delp and Glen Swearengin of Christiansburg, Va., got engaged on the Intimidator in 2010 when Swearengin popped the question at the top of the lift hill, according to a press release from Carowinds, an amusement park that straddles the North and South Carolina state line.

Swearengin got the ring on her finger before the first drop, and together the couple decided the ideal place to host their one-of-a-kind wedding was the exact same spot.

“We aren’t the typical couple. We wanted to do something fun and something people will remember,” said Delp. “We called the park because getting married at Carowinds would suit us perfectly. Plus, getting married on the Intimidator is something no one will forget.”

The couple will say “I do” at 9 a.m. Saturday on the steps of Intimidator, surrounded by family and friends.

Following the ceremony, the group will ride the 232-foot-tall coaster in celebration of the nuptials.

Pilot is flying low

A York County jury convicted a pilot from Lake Wylie of driving under the influence after he nearly side-swiped a sheriff’s office patrol car.

Samuel Hannan was charged with his second offense of DUI on Oct. 9. He was convicted on Thursday, according to a press release from the solicitor’s office.

Hannan was also observed driving erratically and at a high rate of speed, the release states. He refused to submit to field sobriety testing and refused to provide a breath sample to determine his blood alcohol concentration.

According to the release, Hannan told the officer he was on his way to his “crash pad” in Lake Wylie that night after spending the day on the lake followed by a stop in at a bar. He admitted to drinking three beers but later confessed that he had consumed more.

Hannan was sentenced to one year in prison and fined $2,100, followed by five years of probation. His prior conviction for DUI was for “Extreme DUI” out of Arizona in 2006.

The best of local news

August 5, 2011

Man gets lost on way to bathroom

An apparently intoxicated employee of Rock City Tavern was arrested for peeing on the roof of the bar early Thursday morning, police say.

The 26-year-old Rock Hill man was charged with disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana after being arrested on the roof of the Celanese Road bar, according to a police report.

When police arrived around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, they found the man urinating on the roof of the tavern. Another employee told police she heard him climb up the ladder to the roof around 2:20 a.m.

Officers climbed on the roof and found the man, who appeared to be drunk, had slurred speech and a hard time standing or walking, the report states. Police helped him off the roof.

When officers searched him, they found a pipe for smoking marijuana and .38 grams of the drug.

He also damaged a neon light to the building.

More news from the world of urination

A Rock Hill teen playing basketball was arrested after he took a bathroom break in nearby bushes.

A resident of Gentle Breeze Lane alerted authorities Saturday night to a teen who urinated near his house, according to a police report.

Police talked to the boy, 14, who was playing basketball near that man’s house around 7:50 p.m.

He admitted to relieving himself in the bushes near the house but didn’t think he did anything wrong. He told officers he thought it was okay to use the bathroom in public since he was covered, the report states.

Police charged the teen with public disorderly conduct and took him home. He was released to his mother and issued a summons to appear in court.

Ex-boyfriend goes ballistic

A Clover man apparently upset that his ex-girlfriend was evicting him from their home is accused of setting fire to the living room.

Geoffrey Lowrie, 49, was arrested Tuesday and charged with arson in connection with a fire set at his residence last week, according to a sheriff’s office report.

The victim told deputies she has lived with Lowrie for about eight years, and she had him arrested for a domestic incident earlier this year.

The couple has since broken up, but they continued to live together at the Clover house. During that time, Lowrie has threatened to burn down the house, the report states.

On July 27, the victim told police she called Lowrie after 9 p.m. and told him leave the residence, the report states. She said she was on her way home, and he would be evicted if he was still there when she returned.

When she got home, her truck was missing and she saw smoke coming from the front door of the house. When she opened the door, flames flared up inside the house, the report states.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the living room, but smoke throughout the house caused about $6,000 in damages.

The fire also damaged the TV.

Nothing suspicious about this guy

Suddenly, motorist is in an action movie

A driver is recovering after he jumped from a car going about 65 m.p.h. on Interstate 77 this weekend, York County officials say.

A 50-year-old New Hampshire man jumped out of a moving car and rolled down the interstate in the southbound lane near mile marker 82 in Rock Hill Saturday afternoon, according to the sheriff’s office.

Witnesses told deputies they saw the man jump from a Ford Focus and roll down I-77. A woman in the passenger seat was able to safely pull the Focus off the road without causing a crash, Lt. Mike Baker said.

Officials believe the man jumped out of the car in an apparent suicide attempt, but investigators hadn’t interviewed him yet.

The driver was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center with head injuries, the report states. He suffered mostly abrasions and contusions, Baker said.

Deputies have not decided if the man will face charges, Baker said.

Happy birthday (blam!) to me

A man was arrested after he fired gunshots into the air Thursday in honor of his 34th birthday, police say.

Officers spoke the man early Thursday morning after a woman said he had pulled a .40-caliber gun on her while they were arguing, according to a police report. A witness said she did not see a gun during the argument, but that they were throwing things at each other.

At his mother’s residence, the man told officers he didn’t have a gun, but later said he had one on top of his mother’s dresser, the report states. He told officers he had fired it outside to celebrate his birthday.

He was charged with firing a gun within city limits and taken to the city jail.

This candid camera is no smiling matter

An employee of a Hilton Head convenience store has been accused of hiding a video camera in the women’s bathroom, according to the sheriff’s office.

A woman in the restroom of the Kangaroo Express on Mathews Drive accidentally dislodged the camera from its hiding spot in the toilet-paper dispenser July 23, according to a news release. The customer notified store clerks and the sheriff’s office, which seized the camera.

Emilio Felipe Derutte-Casas, 50, of Hilton Head faces a Peeping Tom charge and, if convicted of the misdemeanor, he faces as many as three years in prison.

Sgt. Robin McIntosh, sheriff’s spokeswoman, said Derutte-Casas had been surreptitiously filming the bathroom with a video camera for at least a month, possibly longer.

“It hasn’t been continuously running,” McIntosh said. “Basically, he would run it for a couple hours during his shift.”

McIntosh would not say how investigators determined Derutte-Casas was responsible because the case remains open.

Derutte-Casas does not have proper residency documents, McIntosh said. He has been placed on hold in the Beaufort County Detention Center pending an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to determine his residency status. He was born in Peru, according to the jail log.

A manager at the Kangaroo station who answered the phone Friday declined to say whether Derutte-Casas has been fired.

CDB still kickin’ it

The legendary Charlie Daniels Band, best known for the 1979 hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” will play Thursday in Rock Hill as part of the Old Town Amphitheater series.

With a career spanning more than 50 years, Daniels has no plans to stop any time soon and just released his new single, “Let ‘Em Win Or Bring ‘Em Home.”

Daniels talked with The Herald about his career, what his audience can expect, and if the devil is indeed still in Georgia.

You can’t talk about the Charlie Daniels Band without talking about “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Why do you think that song became such an instant hit and is still so popular now?

If I could answer that question, I’d be a very brilliant man. I think it’s probably the nature of the song; everybody likes to see the devil get beat. You can’t beat the devil without the Lord. That just goes on to the positive side of winning. I think it’s the novelty. When you put together a hit record, it’s a combination of things. I don’t think it’s necessarily because of any one particular thing, the right song, the right arrangement, the right time…

One of our Facebook readers Travis wants to know: is the devil still down in Georgia?

Unfortunately the devil is in a lot of places. He goes around. That’s a very serious subject with me. When I talk about that, it is not a reckless subject to me at all. I’m a Christian and I very much acknowledge that there is a devil. And like I said, you couldn’t beat the devil without the Lord.

The latest news from South Carolina

July 8, 2011

Man can’t do anything right

A man wanted on charges of attempted murder turned himself in to the sheriff’s department Thursday morning and was arrested, but not before he tried and failed to shoot himself twice in the parking lot.

Jerome White, 38, is charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and two counts of pointing and presenting.

White is suspected of shooting a victim Tuesday at a residence in Hopkins. Responding deputies called for an ambulance and the victim was taken to the hospital with a hand wound.

Investigators say witnesses reported seeing White and the victim arguing. The witnesses left when White brandished the handgun, the department said.

White came to the sheriff’s department at 9 a.m. Thursday with an attorney. The department said White tried to shoot himself twice when he arrived, but his gun misfired both times. He was subdued without further incident.

Dog not mean, just horny (then dead)

A police officer investigating a complaint about a dog terrorizing the neighborhood shot and killed the animal.

Police were called to a home on Gilmore Street Tuesday in response to a complaint from a resident who said a neighbor’s dog had chased him, the report states.

The police report listed the dog as a pit bull, but the owner’s roommate, Natalie Macias, said he’s an American Bulldog named “Whitey.”

The neighbor complained that Whitey attacked his own dog, which was chained in his yard, as well as other people in the neighborhood. Police said they spoke with other neighbors who told them the dog had chased them.

The officer who responded was able to reach the dog’s owner by phone. While officers waited at the home with animal control, Whitey charged the fence and escaped through a hole. The dog then charged the police officer, who “defended himself from the advancing [dog] by discharging his firearm at the [dog],” which died as a result of his injuries, according to the report.

Macias believes the use of deadly force was unnecessary, and said the neighbors’ accounts of the dog’s viciousness were exaggerated.

“They could’ve subdued the dog with a tranquilizer. Shooting and killing him is just outrageous,” said Macias. “Whitey was great with kids and never hurt anyone.”

Macias said Whitey’s heightened aggression Tuesday evening could have been attributed to a female dog being in heat.

Bulbous head wins promotion

Johnson

Despite having a head that looks like an overinflated basketball, Tavis Johnson has been promoted to assistant branch manager at Family Trust Federal Credit Union.

Johnson, 28, joined Family Trust as a part-time teller in 2002, and later become a member service representative and a loan officer.

Johnson is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management at Winthrop University.

Looks like rain

A strong thunderstorm is moving through southeastern York County. Very heavy rainfall, small hail and wind gusts are expected with this storm.

At 1:50 p.m., the National Weather Service Doppler Radar indicated the thunderstorm. Frequent lightning is occurring with the storm.

If outdoors, stay away from trees and other isolated high objects.

Jailer cracks the case

Police aren’t sure how a bag of crack ended up on the floor of Rock Hill’s jail.

Early this morning, a corrections officer notified police that a small bag of crack was found on the floor of the jail beside the bench near the front door, according to a police report.

The .60 grams of crack cocaine was placed in evidence to be destroyed.

No suspects were identified.

If a tree falls into your house, and no one is smart enough to be injured  …

A large oak tree that fell on three homes Thursday had been deemed a “public nuisance” the day before.

Around 8 a.m. Thursday the nearly century-old tree fell, causing more than $50,000 in damage to one residence and landing on two others. No one was hurt.

The day before, Rock Hill’s city forester was asked to inspect the tree. He said he determined the tree had a large split that appeared to be worsening.

After the inspection, he drafted a letter to send to the homeowners  that it needed to be removed within 15 days.

The tree fell the following morning.

As she heard the crash, Becky Talley said she worried instantly about her 64-year-old mother, who can’t walk.

“God was with us, because my mother shouldn’t be with us today. She was asleep in that front room,” Talley said.

“We thought we had another week or two before this happened, before it cracked apart and fell like this,” Talley said.

K-mart employee goes coupon crazy

An extreme coupon shopper ended up in jail for using them on the wrong products at a Rock Hill K-mart, police say.

Raven Barber, 17, was convicted of breach of trust for acting as her own cashier during a transaction at K-mart where she paid 20 cents for about $400 in purchases, police documents show.

She worked at the Cherry Road K-mart and sold products to herself on May 27, according to a police report. Barber used a large number of manufacturer coupons, but they weren’t for the same items she purchased.

She redeemed $408 in coupons. She bought $395 worth of merchandise, including a $210 gift card.

Barber was sentenced in municipal court Tuesday to a day in jail and ordered to pay restitution.

Teens arrested in TP incident

Two intoxicated underage men were arrested after using toilet paper and fire extinguishers to vandalize a YMCA and nearby yards, police say.

Blake Hoover and Andrew Frazier, both 19, were arrested early Sunday after being seen toilet papering near the YMCA, according to a police report.

Both were charged with burglary, breaking and entering, damage to property, criminal conspiracy and underage drinking.

After papering the YMCA lot, a witness saw the men spraying a fire extinguisher into several nearby yards, the report states.

Police found Hoover and Frazier near where the witness reported the damage. They also found a bus at the YMCA had been broken into and a fire extinguisher was stolen.

Police also suspect the men broke into a nearby home for sale by busting out the windows. Inside, someone tipped over the refrigerator and tore off the microwave door, according to reports.

Both men had scratches on their arms and hands.

How not to celebrate the Fourth

What a Rock Hill woman thought were fireworks turned out to be gunshots fired into her home, police say.

The 50-year-old woman told police she and her daughter heard loud bangs from inside her residence around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, according to a police report.

Although she thought they were just fireworks celebrating the July 4 holiday weekend, the woman told police she wasn’t comfortable at home and left to go to her mother’s house.

When she returned home just before 9 a.m., she found bullet holes throughout her house.

Police found 11 shell casings on Main Street near the house. Police believe a .40-caliber gun may have been used.

Residents aren’t sure why the shooting occurred.

The American Camel Coalition? Lobbyists go too far

How far would you go for something you believed in? Empty your savings account? Sell your furniture? Cut back on your day job?

Millie Hinkle, a natural medicine practitioner from Pittsboro, did all of the above.

Hinkle has spent three years working to get camel’s milk approved for sale across the U.S. She started a company called Camel Milk USA and founded the American Camel Coalition to promote legislation to benefit camel owners.

Hinkle wasn’t even that taken with the taste of camel’s milk when she first drank it in the 1980s during a trip to Dubai.

“It was rather salty-tasting to me,” she said. “I have to say I never thought another thing about it.”

In late 2008, an article in a health magazine got her thinking about that experience, and craving another taste. When she discovered it was illegal to sell camel’s milk in the U.S., she was determined to get it approved for sale across state lines.

Hinkle testified before a Food and Drug Administration panel in 2009 and helped get camel’s milk put under laws governing the sale of milk, allowing states to govern its sale.

Hinkle said farmers are selling fresh camel’s milk for about $40 a quart, given that camels cost at least $15,000 here and produce only about five quarts a day, half of what a cow produces. Camels, unlike cows, are not as cooperative about being milked, Hinkle said.

What drives Hinkle is a belief in the curative properties of camel’s milk. Based on small studies, she believes camel’s milk holds the key to curing ailments such as cancer, diabetes, autism and Crohn’s disease.

Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, president of Health Care & Education at the American Diabetes Association, says the health claims appear to be unfounded.

“I do not think that camel milk is particularly useful at this point in time,” said Mayer-Davis, a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Hinkle remains undeterred. She said seven American universities are doing research on camel’s milk, including the effect of its protein on muscles.

“It has been a long struggle up until this point but I think it is really beginning to pay off,” she said.

Forget Manhattan, we have cou rouge (rednecks)

Pouvez-vous dire “South Carolina”?

State tourism promoters were in France last month asking that question — translation: Can you say South Carolina? — aiming to generate interest in the state among potential tourists from France.

South Carolina, along with 10 other Southeastern states, is trying to tap that market, which officials say is one of the most popular international markets to the U.S.

“They are coming to the U.S., and the goal is to get more of them to the Southeast,” said Beverly Shelley, director of marketing at the S.C. Tourism Department. “It makes sense to go try to get a piece of that business.”

Shelley and a dozen other tourism promoters spent about a week in two French cities last month, with Shelley aiming to woo them by mentioning the state’s beaches, historical offerings in Charleston and adventure opportunities.

“The French are interested in cultural kinds of things, the outdoors, festivals,” Shelley said.

About 1.2 million residents of France visited the U.S. in 2009, a 3.2-percent decline from 2008, and spent $4.1 billion on their visits.

Shelley admits that South Carolina isn’t going to be tops on the list of places for French tourists to check out. Bigger cities such as New York always will be more popular.

“A place like South Carolina is going to be part of a second visit or third visit,” she said.

Shelley says she plans to follow up with the groups she met to try to ensure stories are written and tour operators keep South Carolina in mind.

“Breaking into a new market takes time,” Shelley said.

News briefs from around S.C.

July 1, 2011

“Hey, check out the safety on this (oops) …”

Lee County sheriff’s deputies say a Sanford man shot and killed himself while showing friends the safety of his new gun.

Deputies say the death of 23-year-old Randall Butler was an accident.

Capt. Jeff Johnson says there is nothing to indicate foul play.

Johnson says some friends were in Butler’s girlfriend’s home when he showed them the safety features of his .22-caliber pistol.

The captain says Butler showed them the safety and how the gun would not fire. Johnson says after Butler pulled the trigger and it didn’t fire, he showed them the slide action, put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger again.

Johnson says Butler apparently failed to re-engage the safety.

Thief adapts and survives

A thief apparently got injured breaking into a Rock Hill church and stole a first aid kit, police say.

Someone broke into Eastside Baptist Church sometime overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday through a window, according to a police report.

The unknown suspect broke the kitchen window to get inside. Officers found blood near the window and bloody napkins left on the table. A first aid kit worth about $50 was stolen.

Also taken was about $10 worth of chips and cookies.

A church member told police he knew of homeless women who have been breaking in around town and stealing food

No one has been arrested.

Man burns down his own house

A man accused of setting fire to his own home earlier this week then filing a false police report about the fire has turned himself in, according to police reports.

Joseph Rangel, 40, told police on Tuesday that he left his home Monday and returned Tuesday to find the house had been burned, according to police reports.

Police saw the ash from the fire and notified detectives and the fire marshal’s office.

Rangel is charged with arson, burglary, and filing a false police report, according to police records.

Bike damaged; also, woman stabbed

A York woman was stabbed in the neck during a fight over a motorcycle outside a pizza shop, police say.

Terry Fields, Jr. was charged with attempted murder after police arrested him outside Olympia Pizza Saturday night, according to a police report. Fields was bleeding and carrying a knife when he was arrested near the restaurant.

The victim, 33, was reportedly trying to retrieve a motorcycle she sold to Fields that he owed months worth of payments on.

She tried to leave on the motorcycle when she was attacked by Fields, witnesses told police. When an employee at the pizza shop jumped in to stop the fight, Fields allegedly pulled out a knife. During the fight, he struck the woman in the neck.

The fight reportedly had to do with the motorcycle. The victim had sold the bike, but wanted to get it back because the buyer hadn’t made five payments.

She went to the sheriff’s office to discuss getting it back after the buyer hadn’t made any payments. An officer told her she’d need to see a judge because it was a civil matter, the report states.

After that, she reportedly met Fields at the pizza shop. Despite paying her a payment of $70, the victim told Fields she was leaving on the motorcycle. She was attempting to leave on the bike when the fight broke out.

About $1,500 in damages was done to the motorcycle when it fell to the ground during the fight.

Social media conquers all

Just days after Facebook yanked prison inmate Michael Maxwell’s two online pages, the convicted killer found a way back on the social networking site.

What’s more, Maxwell was apparently using Facebook to profess his love for another prison inmate who also is doing time in connection with a murder.

South Carolina prison officials say they have searched Maxwell and his cell but have found no evidence he is using a mobile phone to carry on his online activities.

“Our folks continue to monitor inmate Maxwell closely,” said Clark Newsom, spokesman for the department of corrections.

Maxwell, 28, is in the maximum-security Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, serving a prison sentence for killing a Goose Creek man with a shotgun in 2007. The prison system bans inmates from using the Internet or possessing a cell phone, but those devices are smuggled into correctional facilities anyway.

Somehow, Maxwell started two pages on Facebook. He piled up hundreds of friends and chatted about everything from pitbulls to guns.

Facebook pulled the pages last week after a newspaper began asking questions. But days later, Maxwell was back, this time setting his profile to private so only friends could follow his online posts.

Lorena Teseniar, the mother of Maxwell’s victim, was stunned to see him back and even more surprised to find he had been posting love notes to Katherine Feaster, who is serving time in Leath Correctional Institution in Greenwood.

Last year, Feaster was sentenced to eight years in prison after she pleaded guilty to burglary and misprision of a felony in connection with the killing of her former stepfather. He had vanished from his home in 2001 and his body was found six years later in a barrel buried in the yard of one of Feaster’s co-defendants in the case.

Maxwell posted poems and sweet nothings on Feaster’s page, referring to her as “wifey.” Among his offerings: “Baby u are the best woman ever no how stressed i am u make things so much better. I love u and cant wait till that special day when u become my wife for real. i love u and want the whole world to know it.”

Facebook removed Feaster’s page Thursday as well.

But will masks fit kitties?

Each year, up to 150,000 pets die in fires and more than 500,000 are affected by home fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Thanks to a new donation of pet oxygen masks, Lancaster County firefighters are hoping to reduce that number.

Invisible Fence, an organization that specializes in pet protection systems, began Project Breathe a few years ago with the goal of providing every fire department and rescue unit with pet oxygen masks.

So far, the organization has donated more than 10,000 to stations across the United States and Canada.

Now Lancaster County and its volunteer stations can add themselves to that list with the 18 pet oxygen masks from the organization.

David Holler, sales consultant for Invisible Fence of the Carolinas, said each oxygen kit contains three sizes — small, medium and large. The smallest size can fit breeds such as Yorkshire terriers, and the largest are made for mastiffs and similar breeds.

“The typical oxygen mask for humans doesn’t fit the frame of a dog’s snout,” he said.

The department is happy to have the masks, said Capt. Tony Gainer, but has not needed to use them yet.

Holler said Invisible Fence has received feedback from fire stations across the nation that have used the masks. A station in Ohio reported saving a dog’s life because they used one.

Glitches, glow sticks plague beauty pageant

The Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen pageant kicked off preliminary rounds Tuesday night at the Township Auditorium.

The 88 contestants have been split into three performance groups for the preliminaries. The groups will rotate — talent, evening and swimsuit for Miss S.C. and talent, evening and sportswear for Miss S.C. Teen — but each contestant will perform nightly. And six group winners will be named each night.

The winners will be crowned Saturday.

Miss Hampton, Anna Catherine English, tore ligaments in her left leg during a Tuesday morning rehearsal, but she still performed during her group’s talent segment. She was scheduled to dance, but instead she sang “Turning Tables,” a song with an appropriate title. She even survived one of the multiple technical glitches of the evening when her mic wasn’t turned up.

“Is this thing on?” she said after the music was stopped.

Miss Colleton County was allowed to perform her violin piece twice because of a sound issue that made her first attempt sound pitchy.

The opening included all the contestants wearing sequined dresses — and shoes — that appeared to be a golden metallic color in the stage lights. The stage itself was lit like an airport runway. Several people in the audience had glow sticks.

Revisited: Man arrested in foiled robbery attempt

June 19, 2011

FORT MILL, S.C. (June 19) — A local man was charged with attempted robbery and conspiracy yesterday after he bragged on his blog that he’d stage a midnight heist at a Babbitt Village convenience store.        

DavisW, 56, a financial document analyst from nearby Rock Hill, was arrested by sheriff’s deputies as he tried to enter the Circle J store on Sutton Road. Police say the man wasn’t armed, made no attempt to disguise himself and in general seemed not very bright.        

“He wrote up his plans in a post on the Internet. He came right out and said he was going to rob the store,” said Det. Sgt. Charles Harrison. “What an idiot.”        

DavisW said through his attorney that he was innocent of the charges, claiming he was only trying to be funny.        

“It’s not funny to threaten the security of a small business owner,” Harrison said. “In fact, we read through a lot of his posts and, frankly, none of them are funny.”        

DavisW reportedly approached the entrance of the store around 10 p.m. Wednesday as police staked out the parking lot after reading of the plans online. As soon as he crossed the threshold, a SWAT team of about a dozen officers descended on the man. He offered no resistance other than saying “hey!” and “what?” and “quit it” repeatedly as he was wrestled to the ground, police said.        

After charges were filed, the suspect was released on $10,000 bond.        

“You know, I went back in at the last minute, right before I hit the ‘publish’ button, and added ‘satire’ to the heading, because I was afraid something like this would happen,” DavisW told a reporter after his late-night release. “Apparently, the sheriff’s department doesn’t appreciate satire as a long-respected literary genre. Imagine what they’d do if I used magical realism.”        

DavisW claimed his plot to raise money for a family vacation to Newfoundland was “not serious,” and that his return to the establishment he had been casing only hours before was merely an attempt to buy a Kit-Kat bar.    

“Give me a break, give me a break,” he said. “They have to know I wasn’t serious.”    

Trial was set for Sept. 14.

News briefs from the great state of South Carolina

June 17, 2011

Trespassing on the Lord’s mini-golf

Six people were issued trespass warnings after deputies recently found them inside an abandoned castle and a dilapidated water tower on the Morningstar Ministries property.

The location is the former home of the Jim and Tammy Bakker PTL ministry.

Four were found inside the tower about 1 a.m. Saturday. The building is dilapidated and surrounded by barbed wire. “No trespassing” signs are also posted around the tower.

One of the suspects, a 25-year-old from Fort Mill, said they were “just looking around,” the report states.

In a separate incident, two homeless people — a 23-year-old man and 22-year-old woman — were found asleep about 3 a.m. Wednesday morning in the abandoned castle, which used to be part of a Christian-themed miniature golf course.

They were given a trespass warning and escorted to Charlotte, the report states.

Maybe she shouldn’t have called police after all

York Police are searching for three men who allegedly fired a gun at a woman in her home and fled.

About 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, a 46-year-old York woman and her two sons, 18 and 19, were in their Sunset Drive trailer when they heard a “hard knock” on the door, according to a police report. They initially thought it was the police because of how hard the knock was.

When the 19-year-old answered the door, three armed suspects wearing bandanas stood at the door and hit him in the head, the report states.

The suspects entered the home, according to the report. The mother stood up but was told that if she didn’t get back, they would shoot her. They fired the gun once before fleeing in an old blue Chevrolet.

The 19-year-old went to the office of the trailer community to report the incident to an employee, who said she heard the gun shot, the report states. The son was bleeding from the head. EMS arrived on scene and treated him, but no one else was injured or needed treatment.

After searching the home, officers located marijuana and charged the mother with simple possession.

Dance camp is locked down (…six, seven, eight)

Nation Ford High School was locked down briefly Monday morning.

Leanne Lordo, an assistant superintendent, said that “a custody issue led to a misunderstanding.” District officials originally said that the school was locked down as a safety precaution because of a bomb threat but now say there was no bomb threat, simply a misunderstanding.

“There was no bomb threat, no weapon,” Lordo said.

The lockdown order was lifted within 30 minutes.

The school is hosting dance camp for high school dancers and a cheerleading camp for children age four and up.

A dance camp student who asked not to be named called her mother from inside the school and said that she and other campers were together inside a classroom closet. Police officers were in the hallway nearby, she said.

Police and fire trucks were on the scene.

Forget the footlong, just give me the $5

Police are searching for a gunman who jumped over the counter at a Subway restaurant and stole money from the cash register and safe.

A clerk at the sandwich shop said an unknown man came into the restaurant, according to a police report. He pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the clerk, jumped over the counter and demanded money.

The suspect jumped back over the counter and attempted to leave through the front door but a customer entering the restaurant alarmed him. He fled through the back door instead, the report states.

No one was injured.

Laronzo Ashley, 24, was the customer who walked in after the robbery.

“I just saw somebody jump over the counter and then back over,” he said Wednesday. “That was it. I didn’t know what was going on. I just walked into it.”

Ashley didn’t see the gun.

Detective Bruce Haire said the surveillance footage is some of the best they’ve seen, and they are hopeful it will lead to some tips.

Police called out a K-9 unit Tuesday night and are still searching for the armed suspect.

Crow causes outage; snakes and squirrels get blame

More than 3,000 customers in the Manchester/Galleria area of Rock Hill were without power this morning because a crow got into the wiring, city officials say.

Traffic lights were out along Dave Lyle Boulevard, including at Interstate 77, impacting the morning commute. Power was restored around 7:30 a.m.

Last month, a snake caused power outages in the same area.

City spokeswoman Katie Quinn said it’s not unusual for the city to have occasional problems with snakes and squirrels.

Hopefully the temperature will not get too hot, she said.

Scootin’ ’round the local Walmart

Two York residents may be charged with vandalism after they allegedly rode scooters through a Lake Wylie store and then pulled the fire alarm when they were asked to leave Monday.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Walmart on Highway 274 about 11 p.m. to help with a fire alarm call, according to a sheriff’s office report. The manager said the store had to be evacuated because of the alarm and said she had a good idea of the suspects after viewing surveillance footage.

The footage shows a 23-year-old woman and 23-year-man, both of York, riding motorized scooters through the store and running into a customer, the report states. After they leave, video shows the same people drive around outside to where a valve triggering the fire alarm is located, then drive away.

The store plans to press charges, citing a $500 service fee for the fire system, lost business and the 15 employees who lost an hour of time, the report states.

At least bookstore is used for something

A Rock Hill man was arrested after police found him on the roof of the Books-A-Million in Manchester Village, where he said he was just sunbathing.

Police charged Hale Hoeflick, 22, who lives on Village Green Lane, with trespassing and took him to the city jail, according to a police report.

Officers first responded to a call from the store around 7 p.m. that several juveniles were playing on the roof of the store, the report states.

When police went on the roof, they found a man who told them he was “trying to get a tan.”

‘I said she is a Cancer, not that she has it’

A woman charged with falsely claiming that her daughter had cancer will not spend time in jail and is ordered to pay about $2,000 in restitution in the next month.

Angela Ann Chapman, 36, of Whitmire, was arrested and charged with obtaining goods under false pretense on May 25. She appeared in court Wednesday representing herself and requested a trial by the judge.

Magistrate Ron Halfacre found Chapman guilty of breach of trust with fraudulent intent.

“There is overwhelming evidence that you are guilty of this crime,” said Halfacre to Chapman on pronouncing the verdict. “The community put their trust in you, and you breached that trust.”

He’ll have the bloody, Mary

Drinks at a Rock Hill Mexican restaurant turned bloody Thursday after a man allegedly starting breaking glasses.

A 25-year-old York man was arrested after police found him cleaning blood off the floor of the El Cancun restaurant on Cherry Road, a police report said.

The man was having drinks with his friends and became disorderly, breaking several glasses inside the restaurant. His hands were bleeding profusely and large amounts of blood were on the floor, his shorts, and rags he had placed over his wounds, the report said.

Police arrested the man for public disorderly intoxication. When EMS arrived, the man resisted medical care. He was transported to Piedmont Medical Center where he was treated and released for booking.

Phoning it in not an option for ailing mayor

Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols said he is disappointed City Council would not let him participate in Monday night’s council meeting by phone.

Echols, who underwent heart surgery in late May, is recovering at home. But he still wanted to participate in the meeting, which included initial approval of the next fiscal year’s budget.

At the start of Monday’s meeting, members were asked to suspend a council policy requiring members to attend meetings. The vote was 3-3, which means the request was rejected.

“I am extremely disappointed that the vote occurred the way that it did,” Echols said. “I had made what I felt like was a legal and noncontroversial request. To vote against the opportunity to allow me to exercise my right to vote, I felt like was inconsiderate and inappropriate.”

After the vote, council members and city attorney Paul Dillingham went into executive session to talk more about the policy regarding attendance.

Meanwhile, Echols’ wife drove the mayor to the meeting. He was with other council members when they emerged from the 20-minute executive session.

“I was not going to be denied the opportunity to vote,” he said.

In the coming weeks, Echols said he will work with Dillingham to establish, in clear language, that any City Council member has the opportunity to vote during unusual circumstances.