Hillsborough Police Investigating Multiple Car Break-Ins

Hillsborough Police are warning residents to lock their vehicles after a string of targeted break-ins.

Police say several unlocked vehicles have been broken into in several areas of town.

Authorities are asking citizens to not leave their vehicles unlocked and to not leave valuable items in visible locations.

There were recently suspects charged with committing similar crimes in Mebane and Hillsborough Police are investigating whether there is any connection. The suspects arrested in the Mebane break-ins were from Chapel Hill, Durham and Graham, according to police.


Driver in Fatal I-85 Crash in Orange County Charged with DWI

A Graham man has been charged with six charges following a fatal three-vehicle collision on I-85 in Orange County Tuesday evening.

Officials with the North Carolina Highway Patrol have charged 40-year-old Robert Jason Mace, of Graham, with felony death by a motor vehicle, felony serious injury by a motor vehicle, driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving, failure to maintain lane control and improper passing.

Authorities say a passenger van driven by Mace traveling south on I-85 near mile-marker 165 traveled off the right shoulder and struck the rear of a tractor-trailer, which was stationary at the time. The van then collided with a Toyota pickup truck, which caused the Toyota to overturn.

The female passenger in the van driven by Mace died at the scene, according to law enforcement.

Authorities say the investigation shows that Mace was driving in a careless and reckless manner prior to the collision and passing other vehicles on the right emergency shoulder of I-85.

Investigators say they believe alcohol was a factor.

Additional charges could be brought against Mace as the investigation continues.

Mace and the driver of the Toyota were taken to Duke for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

I-85 was shut down for several hours Tuesday while the preliminary investigation was conducted.


Motion to Delay Chandler Kania Wrong-Way Fatal Crash Trial Denied Once Again

Local Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour denied the second attempt to delay Chandler Kania’s trial in court Tuesday. The former UNC student is accused of driving the wrong way on I-85 for at least six miles after several hours of drinking last summer. Kania’s Jeep hit another vehicle head-on and killed three of the four passengers.

Defense Attorney Russell Babb says Kania’s defense needs more time to hire an expert to fix the audio quality of a North Carolina Highway Patrol interview with Kania after the wreck.

“We’ve tried various ways and used our IT people in-house to help us try to figure things out because it sounds like it’s recorded in one corner of the Dean Dome with the camera far away.”

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman says the audio issues from the video are not bad enough to warrant pushing back the trial.

“I’ve gone through the discovery and I suspect they have, and I’ve listened to it multiple times and you can hear it quite clearly.”

Babb says they also need more time to study the blood test taken from Kania at UNC Hospitals.

“We need more time to hire experts to help us understand hospital protocols; the way hospital blood is typically taken; who does it; who handles it; the possibilities of contamination, and experts to help us understand a trial of this nature”

Babb also says the defense has acquired more than 500 cell phone images from prosecution that they need more time to sort through.

Nieman says the prosecution obtained the hospital records because the defense wants to block the blood-alcohol content results taken by emergency personnel directly after the wreck. And the cell phone images were condensed versions of ones the defense has had since December.

“No single document is new. They’ve had it for the better part of a year.”

Baddour sided with prosecution on both the pictures and the medical records.

“The court will deny the motion to continue. Thank you, I’m just not satisfied that any of the grounds are justified. I think the medical records are available to the defendant, any person for their own treatment at any time. “

Kania has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder, among other charges. His trial date stands to begin October 3.


UNC Football Player Accused of Rape Arrested

UNC linebacker Allen Artis has been arrested following allegations of sexual assault, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

A UNC student – Delaney Robinson – held a press conference on Tuesday alleging Artis raped her on Valentine’s Day on campus.

Robinson took out self-sworn warrants for misdemeanor charges of assault and sexual battery because she says she has been dissatisfied with the investigation from UNC Police and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Officials with the DA’s Office say the investigation is still open and active with felony charges possible.

Authorities say Artis turned himself in on Wednesday and was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond.

Artis has been suspended indefinitely from the football team.

Artis is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday afternoon.


One Dead in Tuesday Wreck on I-85 in Orange County

One passenger was killed in a wreck that shut down I-85 in Orange County for several hours Tuesday evening.

North Carolina Highway Patrol officials say the fatality occurred as part of a three-vehicle collision on I-85 near mile-marker 165 when a passenger van ran off the right shoulder and struck the rear of a tractor-trailer, which was stationary at the time.

Authorities say the van then collided into a Toyota pickup truck, which caused the truck to overturn.

Officials say the front passenger of the van died as part of the crash. The driver of the van and pickup were transported to Duke with non-life-threatening injuries.

Troopers also say that witnesses described the operator of the van as driving careless and reckless prior to the collision. Investigators say they believe that alcohol was a factor in the case.

Robert Mace, the driver of the van, has been charged with felony death by a motor vehicle, felony serious injury by a motor vehicle, driving while impaired, careless and reckless driving, failure to maintain lane control and improper passing.

Troopers say the investigation is ongoing.


Arrest Made in Weekend Chapel Hill Shooting

An arrest has been made after a weekend shooting in Chapel Hill.

Officials say 36-year-old Benjamin Gilbert Uhlenberg was arrested by the US Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force just after 10 o’clock on Thursday morning.

Uhlenberg was wanted in connection with a shooting at the Red Roof Inn early Saturday morning. Police said that a victim was taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Officials say Uhlenberg was taken into custody on Burlington Road in Whitsett without incident after information came in about the type of vehicle he was traveling in.

Uhlenberg is being held in the Orange County Jail under a $70,000 secured bond. He was also served an additional warrant for arrest for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.


Four Years Later, Faith Hedgepeth Murder Case ‘Very Active’

Wednesday marks four years since the murder of Faith Hedgepeth in Chapel Hill.

The body of the UNC student was found in her apartment in September 2012 and no arrest has been made.

Despite the time that has lapsed, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said the case “is as strong as it ever was and is as active as it ever was.”

Blue said CHPD continues to be inspired to find who killed Hedgepeth by maintaining contact with her family.

“When we meet with Faith’s family – which we do pretty regularly and our investigators talk to them weekly, for sure – you’re reminded that this is a family that’s looking for our help in bringing some closure to them and helping them begin to make some sense of what happened.

“And if that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what does.”

Police released a large batch of information two years ago, on the two-year anniversary of Hedgepeth’s killing, but no new evidence has been released recently.

“We have been very thoughtful about what we’ve said about this case because it’s a unique case,” Blue said. “And because we haven’t said very much, it has been in some ways difficult for people to know how to help.”

Still, four years after the murder and with no arrest made, Blue said he is confident in the strength of the case.

“We have got outstanding evidence in this case,” Blue said, “really, really strong evidence. What we’re missing is just that one little key piece of information.”

With authorities maintaining that it is a strong and active case, Blue admits there are times of irritation during the investigation.

“It is frustrating, mostly because we know that Faith’s family is looking for closure in this case.”

Blue did say that he anticipates additional information being made public “in the coming weeks and months” that police feel will help further the investigation.

Blue said police want any information that anyone has that may be relevant to the case.

A $40,000 reward has been offered that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Hedgepeth’s murder.

The family will also be holding a fundraiser on September 17 for the Faith’s Smile Scholarship fund.


Durham Murder Suspect Arrested in Chapel Hill

A man was arrested in Chapel Hill Tuesday morning in connection with a Durham homicide from earlier this year.

Curtis Marcel Barnette was arrested just before nine o’clock Tuesday morning on Berry Patch Lane in Chapel Hill, according to the US Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force. The 38-year-old has been charged in the June 30 death of 50-year-old Reginald Cole.

Durham Police say officers found Cole in a parking lot at 119 E Cornwallis Road when responding to a call of shots being fired. Cole was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said on July 1 that the incident did not appear to be random but did not release any information regarding a suspect. A release from the JFTF says that authorities spent “countless hours on surveillance and conducting interviews” in an effort to locate Barnette. Authorities say a tip came in that Barnette was staying with a female at the aforementioned Chapel Hill address and an arrest warrant was issued on August 29.

JFTF officials say Chapel Hill Police assisted in surrounding and converging on the residence and took Barnette into custody without incident.


Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Makes Drug Bust in Chapel Hill

A raid of a Chapel Hill residence led to two individuals being charged with more than a dozen drug offenses.

Jesse King-Bey. Photo via Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

Jesse King-Bey. Photo via Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.

Chatham County authorities say investigators with the Sheriff’s Office conducted a search of 22 Bell Circle, Apartment B, in Chapel Hill on August 31. Officials say law enforcement seized one gram of crack cocaine, 24 grams of marijuana, eight dosage units of Alprazolam, four dosage units of Clonazepam and nearly $1,000 in cash.

Samantha Epperson. Photo via Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

Samantha Epperson. Photo via Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities have charged 51-year-old Jesse King-Bey and 26-year-old Samantha Epperson with multiple drug counts in relation to the investigation.

King-Bey is facing 10 counts of varying narcotics charges, including two felonies. Epperson is facing two felonies in the three charges brought against her.

King-Bey was given a $65,000 secured bond and Epperson a $5,000 secured bond. Both are due in Chatham County Court in Pittsboro on September 19.


Chapel Hill Police Investigating Saturday Morning Shooting

Chapel Hill Police are asking for public assistance locating a suspect following a shooting on Saturday.

Officials say officers responded to a shooting at the Red Roof Inn on Chapel Hill Boulevard just after 3:30 Saturday morning.

Police say one subject was transported to UNC Hospitals with non-life-threatening injuires.

Authorities have now obtained arrest warrants and are looking for 36-year-old Benjamin Gilbert Uhlenberg.

If anyone has information about the shooting or the whereabouts of Uhlenberg, police are asking you to call Chapel Hill Police at (919) 968-2760 or Crime Stoppers at (919) 942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential and anonymous; the caller may be eligible for a case reward up to $2,000 for information that leads to an arrest.