ASHEBORO – Randolph County Sheriff Gregory Seabolt remains under medical care, but he has resumed some of his duties remotely.
“He’s doing much better,” Amanda Varner, government relations and public affairs director for the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday. “They’ve got him eating again.”
With Seabolt away, there has been a shifting of temporary duties. Col. Aundrea Azelton, chief deputy of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, is overseeing operations.
Last week, the following statement was issued from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office via Deric Skeen on behalf of Seabolt and his family: “Sheriff Seabolt has been hospitalized with an illness after first experiencing symptoms shortly after the beginning of this year. As the Sheriff continues improving under medical supervision and treatment, Chief Deputy Azelton is overseeing the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Seabolt appreciates the continued dedication and service of all his deputies and the continued support of the citizens of Randolph County.”
Varner said she’s unable to provide the location of Seabolt’s hospitalization.
Seabolt, 60, took part in a meeting Monday morning via telephone, Varner said.
Last week, the sheriff’s office issued the following statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are with our Sheriff and the Seabolt family during his time of healing.”
Azelton is described as a long-time member of law enforcement. Varner didn’t have the specifics on Azelton’s longevity with the department.
Seabolt won re-election to his position in November. The Republican is in his second term after first winning an election for the position in 2018. Before that, he had more than 2½ decades in law enforcement with the North Carolina State Patrol.
ASHEBORO — Randolph County Sheriff Greg Seabolt recognized eight Randolph County Animal Control Officers with a Sheriff’s Commendation last week for their recent efforts in the seizure of 55 animals, one of the largest cases in Randolph County history.
The following Randolph County ACOs were recognized for their work on the case; Randolph County Animal Services Director Jonathan Moody (ACO Field Operations Manager), ACO Jonathan Galtney, ACO Robert Godfrey, ACO Donna Zogopolous, ACO Matthew Auman, ACO Yessenia Reyes, ACO McKenzie Beeson, and ACO Sarah Brower.
On June 17, Randolph County Animal Control responded to 5669 Sandalwood Dr. in Denton referencing a possible animal neglect case. Animal Control Officers assisted deputies in the execution of a search warrant, which led to the immediate seizure of 55 animals due to poor living conditions or health and well-being, according to information from the sheriff’s department.
The majority of animals seized suffered severe medical conditions such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, infestation of fleas and other insects, untreated wounds, and other serious conditions.
“This is what working together and collaborating is all about. We could not have done our job, without Animal Services having done exceptionally well at theirs,” Seabolt said. “These are the positive results that come from what we work daily to accomplish in Randolph County by protecting and serving our citizens and those most vulnerable.”
In July 2019, the Randolph County Board of Commissioners voted to establish the Animal Services department as an independent county department reporting directly to the county manager. Prior to this date, and at various times, animal services and animal control had been provided by the sheriff’s office and public health department. Also in 2019, the county commissioners established Randolph County’s first Animal Services Advisory Board. The purpose of this board is to serve as an advisory board to the county commissioners and assist in the planning and long-range goals and objectives for the Animal Services Department.
“We couldn’t have accomplished this without the incredible efforts of our staff and the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department,” Moody said. “This was a joint team effort that resulted in being able to save the lives of 55 animals in Randolph County. I’m extremely grateful to my staff for their tremendous help, as well as the Sheriff’s office, and the Animal Services advisory board for their continued guidance and support.”
Major facility improvements at the County Animal Shelter were made possible through a $750,000 grant provided by Waste Management.
“This recognition and spirit of cooperation exhibited between the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and Animal Services is the example-in-action we hoped for when restructuring the Animal Services Department three years ago,” said Darrell Frye, chairman of the county commissioners “It’s proof of how far we’ve come in three years, in the midst of a pandemic. A great deal of credit goes to Sheriff Seabolt, Jonathan Moody, our Animal Control Advisory Board, and all the employees who put in service 24/7 on behalf of abused and abandoned animals in our county.”
RANDLEMAN – A couple of notable crime reports came during the past week from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office.
A citizen contacted sheriff’s office communications because of what appeared to be the uncovering of pipe bombs.
The sheriff’s office responded to Providence Church Road in Randleman. Deputies on the scene saw pictures taken by the person and confirmed that these were “consistent with the construction of explosive material.”
Area residents were asked to evacuate and the Greensboro Police Department Bomb Squad was called in for assistance.
Two viable devices and five partially constructed devices were identified and destroyed. The sheriff’s office also had assistance from the ATF.
Joshua Tyler Yehl, 30, who is in Bladen County Detention Center on unrelated charges, has been identified as a suspect in this case. Yehl’s grandparents discovered the explosives.
Fugitive caught in Asheboro
A Virginia fugitive was discovered in Randolph County following a welfare check, according to the sheriff’s office last week.
Deputies went to a home on Fairview Farm Road in Asheboro to perform a welfare check.
Charles Nicholas Doss, 24, had three outstanding warrants for arrest and was also wanted in Virginia for felony grand larceny with full extradition.
According to the sheriff’s office, deputies discovered Doss outside arguing with a woman. Doss then ran into the home. Deputies entered and detained him while checking on the welfare of the other people in the home.
Following an investigation, Doss was arrested on his outstanding warrants and taken to the Randolph County Detention Center. Among the charges are two counts of misdemeanor assault on a female, resisting a public officer and first-degree trespassing.
Doss was given a $48,000 secured bond for his outstanding warrants. He was given no bond on domestic-related charges. He was served with the fugitive warrant out of Virginia for felony grand larceny and was given an additional $50,000 secured bond, bringing his total bond to $98,000.
Sheriff’s department member reaches rare fitness territory
ASHEBORO — When Luke Wible saw the list of physical tests from the National Tactical Officers Association, he noted the value for a SWAT team member.
That might have been just part of what led the Randolph County Sheriff’s deputy to achieve a rare score on the test.
“I’m a newer guy, but I could see how those things you do in the test could translate when you’re on duty in a real situation,” he said.
Wible, a patrol deputy, basically aced the Physical Fitness Qualification Challenge.
“He’s such a motivator,” Lt. Eric Wilson of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department said. “He has a way about him to motivate others.”
The challenge test is offered to SWAT officers. A perfect score is considered 50, but Wible compiled 13 additional points for a 63.
“I’m just really into fitness,” he said. “It’s kind of therapeutic for me.”
He runs several times a week with other officers. He also takes part in a Jiu-Jitsu class along with other workouts.
Wible, 26, is 5-foot-9 and 170, shedding about 20 pounds from when he was a teenager before he became entrenched in workouts. His background includes time in the Marines.
Now he’s going to be the source of positive attention for the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department. His name and the agency’s name will be recognized in “The Tactical Edge” magazine, a publication of the NTOA. That will be a first for Randolph County.
“He knew that he wanted to max out on it,” Wilson said. “We suspected that he was going to probably get a perfect score. … This was taking it a step further. It’s a very rigorous test.”
Wible said the intent wasn’t to gain notoriety but to push himself and hopefully elevate others along the way.
“It’s really cool to be a part of that,” Wible said. “Everyone on the SWAT team has been very encouraging. Not just the SWAT team, but the sheriff’s department as a whole.”
Wible is on the department’s 15-member SWAT team, which joins forces with agencies in Archdale and Liberty.
The NTOA is the standard for SWAT teams, Wilson said.
“That’s where we get our guidelines on how we operate,” he said. “We use that when we’re drafting our training.”
The test, conducted in uniform and boots, includes an 800-meter run; a 400-meter run while carrying two 25-pound weights, wearing a weighted vest and a gas mask (no filter); three minutes of burpees (ups and downs or a combination of squat thrust and squat jump); two minutes of air squats in weighted vest and gas mask; and one minute of pull-ups. There are three-minute recovery times between events.
“To wear all that equipment and go do something so intense, it looked challenging,” Wible said. “I had to train specifically for (wearing the gas mask). The first time I went through the test during training, I threw up after working out.”
His drills were conducted last week at Randolph Community College’s emergency services training center. Wilson said NTOA members administered the test with extra scrutiny because of the potential for a record score.
Wible is from New Jersey and then met his future wife, who was from Greensboro, at Fort Lee in Virginia. The couple wanted to live in North Carolina but in a more rural setting than Greensboro and ended up in Asheboro.
Wible spent more than 2 ½ years with the Asheboro Police Department before joining the county’s department in November 2020.
He’s in his first year on the SWAT team, which involves a part-time commitment within the department. With the sheriff’s department, he already made an impact as the recipient of the 2021 Eagle Award based on strength, honor, and integrity, with a presentation from Wilson.
“There’s no assignment that I’ve given him that’s too big,” Wilson said.
ASHEBORO — The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office will receive a grant to assist in investigating internet crimes against children.
The sheriff’s office received notification last week of the $73,468.37 awarded in local law enforcement funding from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations.
The funding was awarded for the Internet Crimes Against Children unit to add an additional forensic work station, purchase mobile forensic equipment and software, and attend advanced training.
Funding is earmarked by the Legislature for agencies that investigate ICAC across the state and is administered through the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association. Randolph County has two detectives assigned to ICAC investigations, with one of the officers also on a task force involving Homeland Security investigations.
Equipment purchased with the grant funding will enable both detectives to work on multiple cases at the same time. ICAC detectives also conduct electronic forensic analysis.
According to the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, the department’s ICAC unit receives 51 cyber tips annually. There are 38 of those tips under investigation as of last week.
“The (sheriff’s office) prioritizes ICAC investigations and diligently seeks every opportunity to improve the technology to investigate related crimes,” according to a release from the department.
In addition to investigating tips and reported cases, the ICAC lab processes electronic forensic evidence for nine other agencies. They are the Randleman Police Department, Siler City Police Department, Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, Asheboro Police Department, Liberty Police Department, Seagrove Police Department, Ramseur Police Department, and Homeland Security.
The ICAC Unit has processed 48 devices for other agencies since August 2021 to aid both state and federally prosecuted cases. Based on information from the sheriff’s office, requests for forensic analysis have totaled 193 electronic devices within the past year.
ASHEBORO — Members of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office were involved in weeks of investigating before announcing arrests that what has been described as a theft ring targeting catalytic converters.
The investigation stretched to multiple counties.
Eventually, charges were filed against James Kennedy Jr., 28; Ricky Shawn Morris, 38; Christopher Allen Bolling, 37; and Christopher Cole Lawson, 35.
Police reported that catalytic converters were taken from a variety of locales. Automobiles owned by some of the victims were simply in parking lots.
“It takes a lot of money to replace those converters,” Randolph County Sheriff Greg Seabolt said. “That’s money a lot of people don’t have. We’re going to continue to work and hopefully this investigation will lead to more.”
Among the locations of the thefts, according to the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, were a parking lot in High Point, a parking lot at Trinity High School and a business in Thomasville. Lawson was located in Alamance County before he was apprehended.
The investigation turned up several methods used in making the thefts, some caught via video surveillance. A U-Haul track was involved in some instances.
Those charged were involved in crawling under greasy automobiles with a tool – and yet others became the victims, Seabolt said. The sheriff said drug use was tied the thefts.
“These guys were druggies,” he said. “They didn’t want to work.”
Morris and a U-Haul were found in Sophia and deputies found methamphetamine, paraphernalia, and burglary tools in the cab, the sheriff’s office reported. Investigators said they found catalytic converters and other tools.
Investigators said they tracked down more catalytic converters along with drugs at a house in High Point.
In total, the foursome faces charges totaling 70 felonies and nine misdemeanors stemming from stolen property, possession of burglary tools and drug activity.
“We made a lot of charges,” Seabolt said. “I think we stopped a huge part of that theft ring up in the northern part of the county.”
While the investigation reached this point, the cases aren’t closed. Seabolt said more charges are possible. Some of the charges filed are related to alleged thefts dating to late February.
State Sen. Dave Craven joined investigators and North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey for the announcement regarding the investigation last week at the Randolph County Emergency Services Building. Craven sponsored a bill that became law in December to increase penalties for stealing converters and for purchasing them.
Catalytic converters contain three metals that make them effective at converting exhaust pollutants into less harmful gasses. Those three metals, platinum, palladium and rhodium, have skyrocketed in value in recent years.