Chapel Hill Experiencing String of Second Story Break-Ins

Chapel Hill has been faced with a string of home break-ins recently, with the thieves entering on the second story, according to Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore.

“Folks are breaking in through second story windows, primarily through unlocked second story windows and it looks like they are using lawn furniture or patio furniture to get to a part of the roof that gives them access to second story windows,” said Mecimore.

Mecimore said most of the break-ins have occurred near the Sweeten Creek area by East Chapel Hill High School and have happened during the day, while residents were at work. The break-ins are also taking advantage of the alarm systems in people’s homes.

“Typically alarm systems, or a lot of alarm systems at least, don’t cover the second story and so once someone is in, it seems that as long as they don’t go downstairs they are not setting off the alarm,” said Mecimore.

The police department recommends locking all your doors and windows when you leave the house and before you go to bed and to also make your home looks occupied when you’re away by putting your lights and television on a timer.

Police also advise not keeping any spare keys outside of the house and to consider getting an alarm system if you do not already have one.

“The goal for each person should be to make their houses as undesirable to someone who might break-in as they can,” said Mecimore.

No arrests have been made in connection with the break-ins but Mecimore said police are still investigating.

Chapel Hill Police Prepare for Final Four Celebrations

Excitement is building around the state of North Carolina, and especially in Chapel Hill, as fans are awaiting the tip off of Syracuse and North Carolina in the Final Four in Houston on Saturday night.

While the game is going on in Texas, many revelers – from Chapel Hill and beyond – will set up a satellite watch party on Franklin Street to cheer on the Tar Heels.

That large crowd means a big job is in store for the Chapel Hill Police Department.

“When we talk about planning for a Final Four weekend, we equate it to working two Halloween-scale events in the course of 48 hours,” Chapel Hill Police chief Chris Blue says recalling the annual massive migration to Chapel Hill in late October.

Blue adds the department is fortunate to have a template in place for working these large events but concedes “the intensity level goes up when you’re doing two of them back-to-back.”

Blue says that police are taking precautions ahead of Saturday night’s matchup between the Tar Heels and the Orange, although a potential celebration of a national championship would likely draw a much larger crowd.

“We do work very hard to protect our neighborhoods immediately adjacent to downtown,” Blue says. “There’ll be parking monitors trying to keep those neighborhoods from having visitors taking up the resident parking.”

Blue adds that, while he expects plenty of revelers to come in from outside of Chapel Hill, this type of celebration is “an event that is most-easily attended by people who are already here in the community.”

Blue says that events where thousands of residents and visitors are going to be in one confined space “always makes us nervous” from a public safety standpoint, but he adds “they generally go so well and our attendees are so respectful and well-behaved, for lack of a better term.”

Blue said that a major concern for police and other emergency responders is bonfires being set on Franklin Street. Blue asked that those coming to celebrate refrain from starting those fires and cooperate with law enforcement for a smooth evening.

UNC Geography Professor Arrested: Marijuana

Chapel Hill Police have arrested a UNC geography professor for possession of marijuana with intent to sell and distribute.

Aaron Moody is the geography department’s Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies. He was arrested without incident around eight o’clock Friday night.

Moody faces five charges, including two felonies: possession with intent to sell and distribute and maintaining a vehicle for using, storing and selling controlled substances. According to the police report, officers seized about 26 grams of marijuana from his Honda Odyssey.

Moody’s first court appearance was scheduled for Tuesday, but it has now been continued until March 11. He’s also been charged with three misdemeanors: possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and displaying a fictitious vehicle tag.

UNC officials could not comment on his employment status at this time.

Chapel Hill Police in Need of Blanket Donations

The Chapel Hill Police Department is asking for donations of unused blankets. The police department keeps a stock of blankets year-round but they are needed the most during the winter months.

“It’s basically anyone that is in need of warmth and we can provide those blankets to them,” said Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore.

The blankets are not only for the homeless but can also help someone stranded in a car accident or who cannot afford to heat their house completely.

“We certainly get a great sense of pride for providing [blankets] to people who need it,” said Mecimore. “They benefit from getting the warmth and we get the opportunity to share hopefully with the community in that sense of the pride that they might get by helping us.”

In addition to blankets, police are also collecting unused stuffed animals for children in difficult situations.

“We will take whatever we can get because they will eventually be used. We know the need will always be there and we will always be working to fill that need, so that’s why we are asking folks to help out,” said Mecimore.

You can bring unopened blankets to the Chapel Hill Police Department at 828 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

22-Year-Old Arrested in Shooting of Infant in Chapel Hill

***UPDATE: Davis made his first court appearance on Monday afternoon. His bond was held at $650,000, and he was ordered to have no contact with the victim’s family or to possess a firearm. Chief District Judge Joe Buckner appointed the public defender’s office to defend Davis. Davis is due back in court on January 4.***

22-year-old Shaquille Oneill Davis was arrested in Durham on Sunday in connection with the Christmas Day shooting that left a one-year-old in critical condition.

Chapel Hill Police responded to a reported shooting at 5:43 on Christmas evening in the area of 751 Trinity Court and found one-year-old Maleah Williams at the scene suffering from a gunshot wound.

Shaquille Oneill Davis. Photo via Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Shaquille Oneill Davis. Photo via Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Police say the shots had been fired from a vehicle leaving the complex.

Williams was transported to UNC Hospitals, where she is in critical condition as of last update.

Davis was arrested at 11:50 on Sunday morning by the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force, according to police. Authorities say law enforcement was conducting surveillance in the 3500 block of Century Oaks Road in Durham and saw Davis getting into a vehicle. He was then taken into custody without further incident, according to police.

Davis was charged with attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Davis is being held in the Orange County Jail under a $650,000 secured bond.

Davis is scheduled to appear in court on Monday afternoon.

A gofundme page has been set up to help assist with medical expenses.

The Town of Chapel Hill is offering resources as well. Residents who need crisis support should call the Chapel Hill Police Crisis Unit at (919) 968-2806.  The Town of Chapel Hill Housing and Police Departments will co-host a community meeting later this week for those who are seeking support in the wake of this tragic event.

Mayor Pam Hemminger issued the following statement concerning the shooting:

“Our hearts are grieving over this horrible tragedy, the shooting of an innocent child. My thoughts and prayers are with Maleah’s mother and father, her family and neighbors. We are all praying for her recovery, although we know, sadly, that their lives are forever changed.

Home. Family. Safety. We have a right to demand this as a community. Over this holiday time, I know that citizens of Chapel Hill share my sense of sorrow and outrage. This is a time to come together and speak out against gun violence. Our community should be a safe and peaceful place for everyone. We need greater gun control measures now that will reduce the availability of guns here and everywhere.

I would like to thank our Police Department that has been working throughout the weekend to apprehend the shooting suspect, who has been arrested and is in custody.”

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