Police Make Arrest In July Sexual Assault Case

Local police on Wednesday made an arrest in a sexual assault case dating back to July.

Chapel Hill police had been looking for 26-year-old David Michael Edwards, Jr., for several weeks. On September 29, they issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of second-degree rape.

Wednesday at 6:00 pm, authorities finally caught up with Edwards coming out of a building at 300 East Main Street in Carrboro. He was taken into custody without incident; he’s currently being held in Orange County Jail.

The reported assault took place on July 11, downtown near 100 East Franklin Street. The female victim was transported to UNC Hospitals.


Pedestrian Struck in Hit and Run

Chapel Hill Police are seeking information from the public after a vehicle fled the scene after striking a pedestrian on Thursday evening.

A tweet was sent from the Chapel Hill Police Department account just before 4:30 Thursday saying that a pedestrian was struck on Homestead near Weaver Dairy. The account reports a brown sedan driven by a black male struck the pedestrian and fled before authorities arrived.

If you have any information regarding the accident or the sedan, you are asked to contact Chapel Hill Police.

Authorities say the pedestrian was hospitalized with broken bones.

The victim, 79-year-old Guo Qi Zheng, later died from injuries sustained in the hit and run.


Chapel Hill Police Arrest Six on Forgery Charges

Six individuals were arrested on Tuesday in Chapel Hill and charged with a combined 27 felonies and 16 misdemeanors.

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says the incident started with a traffic stop when an officer stopped a vehicle for traveling 59 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone.

“During that traffic stop, [the officer] established that the person driving had used a fake ID, handed him an ID that was not real or at least not him,” Mecimore says. “The officer dug a little further into it and was able to establish that these guys appeared to have been manufacturing credit cards.

“Stealing people’s identities and manufacturing credit cards based on real credit card numbers, making credit cards that they could swipe.”

Mecimore says officers seized property from the vehicle that supported the suspicion of forgery.

“Some items were seized during this,” he says. “I know there was a machine used to emboss credit cards, a machine used to encode the magnetic strip on credit cards, along with some fake ID’s, [and] some amount of cash.”

One odd factor in the arrest report is that all of the suspects have Georgia addresses.

“We’ve run into some situations like this before where folks appear to be traveling up and down the east coast from town to town,” Mecimore says, “breaking into cars, stealing credit card numbers, using those to encode their own credit cards and then going and charging items.”

Mecimore says, while he doesn’t know the intentions of these suspects, an example he has seen in other cases is the suspects buying electronics on the forged credit cards and then returning the items for cash.

35-year-old Nathaniel Sims is facing five felonies and three misdemeanors and is being held on a $200,000 bond.

20-year-old Ja’Boris Devanta Howard has been charged with four felonies and three misdemeanors with a $300,000 bond.

28-year-old Derwayne Raynor is facing four felonies and three misdemeanors. He is being held on a $200,000 bond.

23-year-old Antahn Deon’ta Smith has been charged with four felonies and two misdemeanors and is being held on a $200,000 bond.

25-year-old Jasmine Ila Matthews is facing four felonies and two misdemeanors. She is being held on a $200,000 bond.

And 22-year-old Deshon Lamont Cooper has been charged with six felonies and three misdemeanors. He is facing a $250,000 bond

All of the suspects are due back in Orange County Court on October 19.


Chapel Hill Police Seek Help to ID Robbery Suspects

Chapel Hill Police need your help to identify two robbery suspects.

The incident happened on July 20, when a woman says she was robbed by two men in the parking deck of the Europa Center.

The suspects allegedly grabbed her purse and dragged her several feet, then fled with the purse in a blue Ford F-150. The victim’s credit cards were then used at Wal-Marts in Durham and Cary.

robbery suspect 1robbery suspect 2


Police have released surveillance footage of men they say match descriptions from the victim and several witnesses. The pictures show two men in white tee-shirts and blue pants leaving a store.

If you have information about the identity of the men pictured, please call Investigator Mineer at the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515. You can also submit tips online. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential and anonymous, and the caller may be eligible for a cash reward up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrest.


Chapel Hill Police Renew Call For Help in Hedgepeth Murder

Three years after the murder of Faith Hedgepeth, Chapel Hill Police say they are still actively seeking her killer.

Hedgepeth was a 19-year-old UNC student living off-campus. Her roommate found her body at 11 o’clock on the morning of September 7, 2012 at their apartment at Hawthorne at the View. She had been beaten to death and left partially undressed.

Last September, to mark the two-year anniversary of Hedgepeth’s murder, investigators unsealed search warrants and publicized information about the case in an effort to garner new leads.

Police Chief Chris Blue wrote in a statement that though authorities received numerous calls and emails, they are still looking for more information.

He and others in the department insist this is not a cold case. He notes advances in DNA technology may help identify the killer.

DNA evidence from a male suspect was collected at the scene, and more than 100 people involved with the case have submitted DNA samples for comparison.

At least $40,000 dollars worth of reward money has been pledged from a number of sources for information to solve this case.

If anyone has information to provide, please contact investigators at 919-614-6363. If you call this number, you will speak directly to one of the investigators who are assigned to this case and are familiar with it. This number continues to be staffed 24 hours a day.

Anyone with information, who wishes to remain anonymous, is asked to contact Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC Crimestoppers at 919-942-7515 or at http://www.crimestoppers-chcunc.org.


BARS Course Helps Businesses Prevent Underage Drinking

Mike Mineer and Kelli Raker are used to more people than the five that showed up on Monday night to their Be A Responsible Server (BARS) course.

“I’d say the average attendance is 35 or so, but I’ve had as many as 130 something,” Mineer, an Alcohol Law Enforcement Investigator said.

Raker, who works as UNC-Chapel Hill’s Sexual Violence Coordinator said the small turnout on Monday was due to the course being offered the previous week, which had close to 80 attendants.

The BARS course is usually offered every other month and teaches employees at businesses which serve alcohol about different laws, in particular those related to serving people under 21. The course also teaches preventative measures employees can take to prevent sexual violence.

“It was very informative,” said Keats Baswell, former general manager at Bailey’s Pub and Grille. “Obviously you learn through each company what they have and their expectation for it, but actually getting on hands information about it is really helpful.”

Some people are required to show up by the courts, which is often the result of a restaurant, bar or other party serving alcohol to a minor.

However, many local bars make it a part of employee training to complete the class, and demand for it is still growing.

“I know the state and I have both been getting requests to host the class at particular businesses,” Mineer said. “When (the Chapel Hill Police Department) can do it we absolutely do it, so does the state.”

Mineer said it was up to the restaurants and bars to help prevent underage drinking and accidents related to excessive drinking.

“You’re the first line of defense for the people out on the roads,” Mineer told the class. “If we’re out there trying to catch (drunk drivers) then they’re already on the street. They’re already a potential danger.”

Raker took a similar approach when it came to sexual assault prevention. She said students at UNC frequently look at employees as authority figures, who can help in a potentially dangerous situation.

“If I asked them ‘who would you go to help you in a situation?’ they might say their friend but they would also say the bartender, the bouncer, the manager or the owner of the store, whoever’s around in a position of authority.”

Mineer told the class that underage buyers at bars could be a liability for everyone from the server to the owner and that he would love to prevent people over 21 from serving to underage people.

“I really wish that if we took the underage buyers out that nobody ever sold it them because it’s a lot of paperwork,” he said. “I would much rather people just do what they’re supposed to do and eliminate that versus having to write somebody a ticket.”


Impaired Drivers Charged in 2 Afternoon Wrecks

Two men were arrested in separate DWI incidents in Chapel Hill on Monday afternoon. In each case, the drivers allegedly hit other vehicles.

Durham resident Alex Mitchell-Schwartz was arrested shortly before 2:30 after police say he ran a red light and hit a car at the intersection of Fordham Boulevard and Europa Drive. He was charged with driving while impaired, driving with a revoked license and failure to stop at a red light.

Juan Luna of Carrboro was arrested at 3 o’clock at 123 East Franklin Street. Luna allegedly struck another car and left the scene. He was charged with driving while impaired, hit and run, driving without a license and driving left of center. According to Chapel Hill police reports, his blood alcohol content registered 0.31, nearly four times the legal limit in North Carolina.

Though both incidents resulted in property damage, there were no major injuries reported. Both men were released on written promises to appear in court on September 10.


Chapel Hill, Durham Police Team Up to Solve Recent Armed Robbery Cases

***UPDATE: Duke University Police have released a sketch of the two suspects in the armed robbery on the Durham campus on Friday morning.***

Police departments in Chapel Hill and Durham are working together to solve five possibly related armed robbery cases.

Four incidents occurred Wednesday and Friday in Chapel Hill, and one happened at Duke University on Friday.

“The UNC ones were on July 22nd, toward the end of the night,” said Lt. Josh Mecimore of the Chapel Hill Police, speaking to WCHL on Friday. “And then, we had two reports of armed robberies, last night just after midnight.

“And then, I guess around 1:40 a.m. [Friday] is when Duke University had one. And the description, the M.O. the suspects are using, and even the vehicle description in each of the incidents is very similar. And so, it’s caused us to work together to realize there are similarities to help identify some suspects, see if these are related, and hopefully, bring whoever’s responsible to justice.”

Mecimore described an armed robbery attempt that occurred in Chapel Hill just after midnight Friday. According to the police report, the intended victim got away without surrendering any personal property.

“Near 1305 East Franklin St., which is sort of in the area of Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen, a 58-year-old male was walking down Franklin Street. Three black males came up from off of the trail area, kind of at the bridge over the Bolin Creek Trail – stairs up from there.

“They pointed a gun at him, told him to get on the ground. When they told him to get on the ground, he ran, and they did not pursue.”

A very short time later, a 50-year-old male reported that three black males robbed him of his cell phone at gunpoint, in the area of Elliott Road and Franklin Street.

The getaway car has been described as either a tan, gold, or white sedan. The suspects are described as black males with a dark complexion between the ages of 20 and 25. The armed suspect in Wednesday’s robberies was described as about 5’10”, with a stocky build, a rounder face and a short-fade haircut. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a dark tank top.

The second suspect was described as around 6 feet tall, with a thin build and short hair.

There was a getaway car spotted in some of the incidents, so police may be looking for four suspects.

Mecimore advises local residents to report any suspicious activity they see in their neighborhoods.

“We also encourage people, especially late at night, to travel in pairs; use public transportation where it’s available; if you’re coming back from the bars, have a designated driver that can drop you off. UNC publishes a lighting map that shows the most well-lit corridors on campus.”

If you have any information that can help police in this investigation, please call 911 or CrimeStoppers. The number in Chapel Hill is 919- 942-7515. Durham callers can use 919-683-1200.

Callers may be eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest.


Chapel Hill Police Investigate Body Found In Car

Chapel Hill Police are investigating after a man was found dead in his car at Timberlyne Shopping Center Monday morning.

Police were called the scene around 6 a.m. Officials say the cause of death has not yet been determined, but Chapel Hill Police Lt. Josh Mecimore said that foul play has been ruled out.

The man was identified as 55-year-old William Macintosh III, of Efland.


Suspect Arrested After Chapel Hill Chase

A suspect who led police on a high-speed chase in Chapel Hill and on the UNC campus has been arrested, according to authorities.

Dontay Antwann Rone

Dontay Antwann Rone

Chapel Hill police charged Dontay Antwann Rone with felony speeding to elude arrest, felony hit and run, careless and reckless driving, failure to yield to a blue light and siren, resisting arrest, and several other misdemeanor traffic charges following a pursuit that began just before 10 o’clock Friday morning.

An Alert Carolina message sent to Carolina students and faculty says that the incident began when a suspect was speeding on Highway 54, east of campus. The driver led police on a chase toward I-40, where he struck another vehicle. The driver then headed toward UNC’s campus and struck another vehicle at the corner of South Road and Country Club Drive. The driver then fled on foot but was caught at the Institute of Government Parking Deck and taken into custody by Chapel Hill Police.

Rone is being evaluated at UNC Hospitals.