Stolen vehicle recovered after police pursuit, suspects arrested

News
Hiawassee Police Department

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – On Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, a Hiawassee police officer attempted to make a traffic stop of a 2009 white Ford F-150 within the city limits. The driver of the pickup refused to stop, proceeding on Highway 76 west.  The pickup turned onto Cedar Cliff Road when the two occupants jumped out and fled from the vehicle, which had been stolen out of Nashville, Tennessee.

John Shillibeer

John Shillibeer

Towns County Sheriff’s deputies responded and apprehended the fleeing suspects after two deputies located the suspects near the area where the pickup was abandoned.

The female suspect, Monica Pez Benitez, was arrested without incident.  The male suspect, John James Shillibeer, fled from deputies and was apprehended after attempting to hide in the crawl space under a nearby residence.

John James Shillibeer, 29, of Armuchee, Georgia, was arrested and charged with one felony count of theft by receiving stolen property, one count of violation of Georgia’s Controlled Substance Act (VGCSA) for possession of amphetamine, one count of VGCSA possession of marijuana, one count possession of drug related objects, one count of driving with a suspended license, one count of reckless driving, one count of fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement, one count of failure to maintain lane, one count of obstruction of a law enforcement officer, and one count of criminal trespass.

Monica Benitez

Monica Benitez

Monica Pez Benitez, 29, of Adkins, Texas, was arrested and charged with one felony count of theft by receiving stolen property, and one count of making false statements to a law enforcement officer.

In addition, John James Shillibeer is being held for Cook County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a probation warrant.

Due to the teamwork and cooperation between the Hiawassee Police Department, Towns County Sheriff’s Office, Towns County Fire Department personnel, and a ranger from the Department of Natural Resources, the suspects were apprehended and taken into custody in short order.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns, and Murray counties, as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Hiawassee Police Department 2017 year-in-review

City Police, News
Chief Paul Smith

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The Hiawassee Police Department (HPD) had an eventful and busy 2017. Chief Arvel Walls retired in May after dutifully serving the citizens of Towns County for 33 years. Paul Smith was named acting police chief until he was sworn in as police chief on Aug. 1, 2017.

In May, a fifth full-time officer was hired to help combat the growing problem of drugs in our community. Until this point, Hiawassee Police officers had served individual 12-hour shifts. Having a fifth position allowed for an officer to focus on drug and traffic interdiction, but also provide back up for other officers.

With a new position dedicated to drug interdiction, felony drug arrests nearly doubled over the previous year. By the end of December, the Hiawassee Police Department had arrested 107 individuals for drug-related crimes. Of those 107 arrests, 61 were felony drug crimes, and the remaining 46 were misdemeanor drug crimes. In addition to the drug arrests, HPD officers arrested 110 other individuals on non-drug-related charges, many of which were traffic-related crimes.

November ended with an armed robbery at Save-A-Lot, the first armed robbery on record in Hiawassee. Detective Brandon Barrett took the lead on the investigation and, within two weeks, had arrested the individuals responsible for the crime.

Hiawassee Police Department made over 1,500 traffic stops during 2017, resulting in over 800 citations, 200 written warnings, and 500 verbal warnings. Officers responded to over 1,600 calls for service, including incidents from an armed robbery to livestock in the roadway.

Hiawassee Police Department thanks everyone for their support and looks forward to continuing to serve the citizens and visitors of Hiawassee in the coming year.

(Featured Image: Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith)

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

UPDATED: Female suspect in Thanksgiving Eve armed robbery apprehended, BOLO issued for accomplice

News
Daniel Walls

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – On Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 22, at 8:25 p.m., the Hiawassee Police Department responded to an armed robbery at the Save-A-Lot located at 236 N Main Street.

Chelsea Alferink

Chelsea Alferink is being held without bond at the Towns County Detention Center

It was reported that a masked man, armed with a handgun, locked one employee in a cooler while another person emptied the safe at gunpoint. The suspect reportedly fled the scene on foot.

Following an extensive investigation, an arrest warrant was issued Dec. 4, 2017, for Chelsea Alferink, the assistant manager at Save-A-Lot, for the offense of false statements and writings. She was taken into custody without incident.

The following day, arrest warrants for the offense of armed robbery were issued for Alferink and her boyfriend, Daniel Walls.

Alferink is being held at the Towns County Jail without bail.

Walls has not been apprehended at this time. The featured photo is from an earlier arrest.

Towns County Sheriff’s Office offered Hiawassee Police Department assistance in confirming the robber’s identity, although Hiawassee PD states they were investigating Walls as a suspect days prior .

UPDATE: Sheriff Chris Clinton tells Fetch Your News that Daniel Walls surrendered without incident at 5:56 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7.

This investigation is still on-going, with the possibility of further charges being filed.

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact Detective Brandon Barrett at 706-896-2888  ext. 3

Follow Fetch Your News for future developments surrounding this case.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Hiawassee Police Department: November Incident Report

City Police, News
Hiawassee Police Department

Calls For Service
Dispatched 138
Self-Initiated 185
Total 323

Reports
Incident 23
Miscellaneous 1
Accident 11
Citations 140
Total 175

Arrests
Felony 0
Misdemeanor 10
Felony Drug 1
Misdemeanor Drug 4
Total 15

Citation Report
BRAKE LIGHTS AND TURN SIGNALS REQUIREMENTS 5

NO PROOF OF INSURANCE 8
DRIVING WITHOUT LICENSE ON PERSON 3

NO TAIL LIGHTS 1
DRUGS TO BE KEPT IN ORIGINAL CONTAINER 5

OPEN CONTAINER VIOLATION 5
DUI – ALCOHOL – ENDANGERMENT OF CHILD UNDER AGE 14 1

OPERATING VEHICLE W/SUSPENSION 1
DUI 2

POSSESSION AND USE OF DRUG RELATED OBJECTS 5
FAIL TO STOP FOR SCHOOL BUS LOAD/UNLOAD 1

POSSESSION OF OUNCE OR LESS OF MARIJUANA 4
FAIL TO YIELD WHEN ENTER/CROSS ROADWAY 1

RECKLESS DRIVING 1
FAILURE TO MAINTAIN LANE 2

SAFETY BELT VIOLATION (ADULTS) 4
FOLLOWING TOO CLOSELY 2

SAFETY BELT VIOLATION (CHILD UNDER 8) 1
IMPROPER BACKING 1

SPEEDING 43
IMPROPER LEFT OR RIGHT TURN 1

TAG LIGHT REQUIRED 5
IMPROPER LIGHTING EQUIPMENT 2

TAGS: ALTERATION/IMPROPER PLATES/REGISTRATION 1
IMPROPER USE OF CENTRAL TURN LANE 4

TAGS: OPERATE VEH W/OUT REVALID TAG/DEC 2
LICENSE: 60 DAYS TO CHANGE NAME/ADDRESS 1

TAGS: REGISTRATION AND LICENSE REQUIRED 4
LICENSE: DRIVING WHILE LIC. SUSP/REVOKED 5

TAGS: USE OF TAG TO CONCEAL IDENTITY 2
LICENSE: DRIVING WHILE UNLICENSED 4

TIRE REQUIREMENTS 1
LICENSE: DRIVING WITH EXPIRED LICENSE 2

TOO FAST FOR CONDITIONS 1
LICENSE: VIOLATION OF LIC. RESTRICTIONS 1

VIEW OBSTRUCTED (WINDSHIELD/OTHER) 4
LIGHT REDUCING MATL. AFFIXED TO WINDOWS 1

WRITING, SENDING, OR READING TEXTS WHILE DRIVING (ANY AGE) 1
NO INSURANCE 2

Total (including warnings) 140

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Horse struck and killed after Christmas parade

News
horse parade

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County’s Christmas parade ended on a tragic note on Saturday, Nov. 25, for a horse participating in the annual procession. Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith told Fetch Your News (FYN) the incident occurred on Main Street, near Tater Ridge, shortly before 7 p.m.

A Ford Focus, red in color, struck the horse from the rear, dismounting the rider and injuring a female nearby. The male rider suffered neck and back injuries, losing consciousness prior to airlift medical transport. The female was taken via ambulance to a nearby facility.

Chief Smith was the first responding officer on scene. The chief tells FYN the driver stated she gazed down to adjust the heater in the vehicle and did not see the horse on the darkened road prior to impact.

Sadly, the horse perished on site.

Chief Smith says he plans to work alongside Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw and Sheriff Chris Clinton to construct a plan allowing equestrian trailers to park at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, the route’s destination, during parades to avoid tragedies such as this in the future.

Georgia State Patrol is investigating the accident.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Suspect apprehended after foot pursuit

News
Towns County Sheriff's Office

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – On Thanksgiving night, Nov. 23, Towns County Sheriff’s deputies responded to an area near Fred’s department store to assist a Hiawassee Police Officer who was in a foot chase with a suspect.  The pursuit resulted from of a domestic call the Hiawassee Police Department responded to at Huddle House in Hiawassee.

The Hiawassee Police Officer requested the assistance of the Sheriff’s Office’s bloodhound to assist with locating the fleeing suspect. The deputies set up a perimeter around the area, awaiting the arrival of the bloodhound, “Copper”.

The suspect, Robert Burl Fletcher, 38, of Gastonia, North Carolina, was arrested and charged with one count of battery/family violence and one count of obstruction of an officer.

Due to the teamwork between the Hiawassee Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office, the reported incident was quickly resolved and the suspect was apprehended.

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Suspect at large in Hiawassee armed robbery

News
Hiawassee Armed Robbery

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – On Nov. 22, 2017, at 8:25 p.m., two Hiawassee Police officers were dispatched to an armed robbery at the Save-A-Lot grocery store located at 236 N. Main St. The officers were on scene within one minute and began searching the area for the suspect who had fled on foot.

It was reported that after the store was closed, a white male, approximately 6 feet 3 inches tall with a slim build, appeared from the rear of the store wearing a mask and brandishing a handgun. One employee was locked in a cooler while the other was lead at gunpoint to the safe. An undisclosed amount of cash was stolen from the safe, and the suspect fled the store on foot.

The employees were not harmed during the incident.

Towns County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the search with bloodhound, Copper, but the suspect remains at large.

If you have any information about this armed robbery, please call the Hiawassee Police Department at 706-896-2888.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com
 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith Recalls “Shop with a Hero”

City Police, Feature News
Chief Paul Smith

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith offered an emotional account of a Christmas past, expressing his care and concern for the children of Towns County, on the morning of Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, before the Movers and Shakers at Sundance Grill.

Chief Smith described the annual Shop with a Hero program, designed to provide disadvantaged youth with an opportunity to bond with area first responders while purchasing gifts, in hopes of a happier holiday season.

The program was implemented in 2006 by the late Chief Jimmy Wright, four years prior to Smith becoming an officer with the Hiawassee Police Department.

Originally known as “Shop with a Cop,” there were not enough law enforcement officers available to provide a one-on-one experience. Several children were once assigned to a single officer. Firefighters, EMS personnel, and the Coast Guard auxiliary are now active in the outreach.

Shop with a Hero began in 2015.

The police chief reminisced on a past year’s experience.

Smith was paired with a sixth-grade boy as they traveled with other students and officers to Walmart, each child allotted $200 in spending cash. Smith said the child chose some things for himself, then asked if he could spend the remainder on his parents. The sixth-grader decided on a gold cross necklace for his mother and cologne for his father. The boy proceeded to return the items he planned to purchase for himself, in order to buy gifts for his brother and sister who would otherwise not receive presents that year.

“It was such a moving experience,” Chief Smith told the group. “It made quite an impact on me.”

The now-chief later saw the student on the Hiawassee Square during the city’s Halloween festivities, and he remembered the officer in a kind light. Smith said the child had witnessed him arrest a relative, yet it was the shopping expedition that stood forefront in the boy’s mind. “Sometimes the only experience (children have) is seeing us in a law enforcement capacity,” Smith explained.

Several listeners fought back tears as Chief Smith recalled the memory.

A member of the Movers and Shakers asked the chief how many children participate in the annual program. “Usually about 20 kids, based on how much money we can raise,” Chief Smith replied.

Bill “Scotty” Scott, a group leader, announced he felt guided to “pass the hat” to collect donations for the community program and $944 was accumulated, the largest amount in Movers and Shaker’s history, affording additional children an opportunity to experience a joyful Christmas.

Businesses and residents can participate in the generous outreach via checks made out to Shop with a Hero, delivered in person at Hiawassee City Hall or mailed to:

Hiawassee Police Department – c/o Chief Paul Smith – 50 River Street – Hiawassee, GA 30546

The outing is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

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