Crime and Incident Releases

ps-patch-111x90pxThe Morganton Public Safety Department issues press releases to help keep local media and residents informed of crime and incidents in the City. Crime and incident releases are written and published by Public Safety platoon captains, and managed by the Public Information Officer.

View crime and incident information online at the Public Safety Police to Citizen (P2C) website.

On October 26, 2019 at 12:03 pm, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to 112 Ross St. Morganton NC, in reference to a gunshot wound.  When officers arrived they found two victims suffering from gunshot wounds.  The first victim, Jacob Hmoo Lor (12/19/1997), was pronounced dead at the scene and his father, Nai Lor (08/20/1975), was air lifted to Carolinas Medical Center of Charlotte where he remains in critical condition.  Family members who were inside the residence at the time of the shooting described the shooter and knew his name. The shooter was identified to be Pheng Lee (12/12/1977) of 4097 Sundown Rd. Morganton NC.

During the investigation, it was learned that Pheng Lee left the scene on a bicycle heading toward his residence at 4097 Sundown Rd.  With the help of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect was located riding his bicycle on Sundown Road and taken into custody. Lee was found to be in possession of a handgun at the time of his arrest.

Pheng Lee was charged for First Degree Murder and placed into Burke Catawba Detention Facility.  Lee has a first appearance court date set for October 28, 2019. 

This case remains under investigation with the assistance from the NC State Bureau of Investigation. If anyone has information regarding this case please contact Morganton Department of Public Safety at 828-437-1211 or Crime Stoppers at 828-437-3333.


As of 10/28/2019 Nai Lor has succumbed to his inujuries from the shooting and died at Carolina's Medical Center of Charlotte.  This investigation has now changed to a double homicide investigation and more charges are pending against Pheng Lee.  


pheng lee

On Monday October 21, 2019 Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to Cannon Pharmacy at 342 E. Parker Rd. Morganton NC, 28655 in reference to a Breaking and Entering.  Public Safety Officers arrived to find the drive thru window shattered which appeared to be where the suspects made entry into the business. The power was cut to the building during the break-in and the meter was pulled. Morganton Public Safety Investigators are currently working this case following up on leads and suspect identification.  It is believed that two suspects entered the business causing an estimated $10,000 in damages and stole multiple types of medications and cash. 


Anyone having information about this crime or the identity of the two suspects should contact Crime Stoppers at 828-437-3333. 


Morganton Public Safety Investigators in conjunction with Burke County Sheriff’s Office Investigators arrested two suspects for multiple Breaking and Entering with Larcenies.  Ryan Chrishan Johnson 12/04/1985 of 105 East Commons Dr. and Isiah Rashon Ervin 01/29/1997 of 1200 Crescent woods Dr. were arrested on September 18, 2019.  Investigators served a search warrant on Ryan Johnson’s residence and located several items that belonged to the victims.  Collectively Johnson and Ervin were involved in 8 Felony Breaking and Entering’s to a house of worship, and 3 Felony Breaking and Entering’s to other businesses within the city limits of Morganton.  Morganton Public Safety Investigators will be issuing indictments for additional charges for both Johnson and Ervin.  Burke County Sheriff’s Office charged them both with one additional Felony Breaking and Entering to a house of worship and will be issuing indictments for 6 more.  Ryan Chrishan Johnson received a total of $110,000 secure bond and Isiah Rashon Ervin received a $55,000 secure bond.  Both have a first appearance court date set for September 19, 2019.

At approximately 0930 am on 08/13/2019, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to the area of Rand Street at West Fleming Drive to investigate a motor vehicle crash with injuries. 

When officers arrived, two vehicles had crashed, a 2004 Nissan Armada and a 2017 Ford Transit Van.  Each vehicle was occupied by only the driver.  According to witnesses at the scene, a black male, with long dreads, dark pants, and heavy build was the driver of the Nissan and had left the scene, just after the crash.  The driver of the Ford, Jose Juan Reyes Rosas (46 YOA) was complaining of neck pain.

PSO Gates spotted the suspect near Mighty Dollar on West Fleming Drive where he was detained. 

During the investigation, it was determined that the Nissan Armada, driven by Erskine Wells Arnold of 415 B Summers Road (46 YOA) was traveling west on West Fleming Drive when Rosas failed to see before starting in the roadway from Rand Street, that such movement could be made in safety.  Rosas collided with Arnold near Rand Street at West Fleming Drive.  After the collision, Arnold fled on foot.

PSO J. Jones suspected that Arnold had been operating a vehicle, subject to an impairing substance due to visible indications from his eyes.  Additionally, Arnold was a wanted person with extradition from Greenville, SC.  Arnold had a fugitive warrant for First Degree Domestic Violence.  It was discovered that Arnold was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of his arrest. 

Arnold was arrested for Felony Hit and Run (with injury) and pending a Driving While Impaired charge-when blood toxicology is received. 

Additionally, the owner of the Nissan, Jessica Pruit, was cited for allowing an unlicensed driver to operate her vehicle. 

Arnold was transported to Burke Catawba DCF pending extradition to SC as well as a $3000.00 secured bond for Felony Hit and Run.  Arnold has an initial appearance in Burke County District Court on 08/14/19. 

Rosas was issued a citation for failing to yield.  He was treated at the scene by Burke EMS for his injuries and released. 

During the months of June and July, 2019, Morganton Public Safety conducted alcohol sales compliance checks at 37 convenience stores inside Morganton City limits. 

The compliance checks enlisted 17 year old, confidential informants tasked with attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages.

11 stores sold alcoholic beverages to the confidential informants:

Tobacco Barn             569 East Fleming Drive

Bypass Beverage        556 East Fleming Drive

Dollar General                        545 East Fleming Drive

Big Daddy’s                1308 Carbon City Rd

Colonel’s Pantry         1007 Jamestown Rd

Jett Xpress                  410 Vine Arden Rd.

Super Tienda Maya    301 Avery Ave.

Murphy's Express       655 W Fleming Dr.

Jack B Quick             1270 Burkemont Ave.

Tobacco Barn             401 Old NC 18

Salem Express            1014 Salem Rd.

NC General Statute 18B-302 prohibits the sale or giving of any alcoholic beverage to a person less than 21 years of age.  Officers identified the store clerks and issued citations. 

Morganton Public Safety will conduct future compliance checks.  We encourage local businesses to provide training and awareness about the law in regards to selling alcoholic beverages. 

Underage Drinking Facts

  • Alcohol stems brain development in adolescents and young adults. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
  • Alcohol may cause permanent damage to the memory and learning center inside the brain as well as decision-making and reasoning areas. (Clinical EEG and Neuroscience).
  • 14% of North Carolina high school students had their first drink before the age of 13. (HHS Office of Adolescent Health).
  • Alcohol kills more young people under the age of 21 than all other illicit drugs combined. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
  • Most high school students that drink alcohol are binge drinkers (57.8%). (DHHS)
  • Thirty-three percent of middle school students began drinking before age 11. (DHHS)
  • In North Carolina, the underage consumption of alcohol costs taxpayers $1.1 billion annually.
  • Alcohol is one of the most common contributors of injury, death and criminal behavior among youth.
  • 95% of all violent crimes committed on college campuses are alcohol-related. (N.C. Carolina Governor's Institute on Alcohol and Substance Abuse).
  • In 2015, 23.5% of all fatal crashes in North Carolina involving an underage driver were due to alcohol impairment. (
  • Most teens get their alcohol from their parents or other adults over the age of 21.
  • It is illegal for anyone under 21 to drive while consuming or after consuming alcohol.
  • Any reading above 0.00 on an alcohol-screening test is sufficient to convict a youth.
  • Refusing to take an intoxilyzer test along with the odor of alcohol on the breath is sufficient evidence to convict an underage user.


On Saturday August 3, 2019 at 4:43 a.m., Officer’s with Morganton Department of Public Safety were dispatched to alarm call at Premiere Studio located at 101 Lenoir St. When Officers arrived they located a broken window at the rear of the business. The suspect entered the business through the broken window and stole an undisclosed amount of cash from business. The suspect exited the business and left the area prior to officer’s arrival. The suspect was a black male wearing a shirt with “U2” on the back of it, blue jeans, and tennis shoes.  On Sunday August 4, 2019 at 11:32 p.m., Lt. J. Brown located a subject matching the description of the suspect from this case in the area of Burger King on S. Sterling St.  During the investigation of the subject, PSO D. Smith located the shirt worn during Breaking and Entering into Premiere Studio in the possession of the subject. The subject was identified as Jason Antonio Lytle, Black Male, age 39, of Morganton, NC.  The subject was charged with the following crimes:










Lytle was placed in Burke Catawba Detention Center under a $10,000 secure bond with a court date of August 6, 2019.




At 4:26 pm on July 4th, Morganton Public Safety officers responded to a call at the Greenway near Judges Riverside Restaraunt about a missing kayaker. Upon arrival, Officer J. Bess met with the father of the missing youth, Brandon Fore. Fore told Officer Bess that his 15 year old son, who is an experienced kayaker, did not exit the river at the designated point on Watermill Road with the others in his party. His friends said he had floated downstream around a bend in the river ahead of them and missed the exit point. Public Safety officers and Fire Engineer J. Burnett quickly staged at different points along the river in the city and spoke to anyone in the area about having seen the boy. 

It was quickly determined that the youth had not come past the dam and spillway at the city's water treatment plant. Officers changed locations to points at and above the spillway to search for the boy. Lt. Triplett called for assistance from Burke County Rescue and Emergency Management. Both agencies were enroute within minutes to Watermill Road to begin searching downstream toward the city officers already on the scene. Lt. Triplett and PSO Paterno walked the river's edge from the spillway to a point approximately 300 yards upriver where the trees thickened and line of sight upriver was nearly impossible.

At 4:56 pm, Lt. R.Triplett and PSO A. Paterno were leaving the river's edge when Officer Paterno saw a young man walking away from the river toward a tree nursery off NC 126 about 350 yards above the spillway. Both officers called out to the youth and identified him as the missing teenager. Lt. Triplett alerted Burke County Communications and other officers that the missing kayaker had been found safe. All assisting units were released as officers ensured the teenager was not injured or suffering any medical issues from the heat. PSO Paterno assisted the youth with recovering his kayak and fishing gear, then the officers led the boy out of the woods to the patrol vehicles where they waited. PSO Bess led the father from the Greenway to where he could be reunited with his son.

The total time from dispatch to the youth being located was 30 minutes. Morganton Public Safety thanks all responding agencies and civilian persons who assisted us with narrowing our search area and bringing this to a happy conclusion.


Today at 11:40 am, the Burke County Emergency Communication Center received a call from a concerned citizen reporting a man matching the description of wanted fugitive; Ezra Patton was at Healthy Petz Veterinarian Clinic on Enola Road.  Morganton Public Safety Officers arrived and positively identified Ezra Patton taking him into custody. 

Patton has been on the run since May 18, 2019 for armed robbery.  Patton was indicted by a grand jury after three subjects were injured at 118 Lenoir Road during the robbery.  Authorities served a true bill of indictment for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and assault by pointing a gun. 

Patton was placed in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $500,000 secured bond and has a court date in Burke County Superior Court on July 29, 2019.

Ezra Harold Patton

DOB:  5/24/1996



The third suspect in the June 13th armed robbery of the Speedway Convenience Store in Morganton turned himself in at the Cleveland County Magistrate's Office Saturday June 15th.  He was served with warrants for Kidnapping and Armed Robbery.  He received a $25,000 secured bond and was release at the magistrate's office.  He has a scheduled court date for Burke County District Court on June 24, 2019.  

Authorities continue to investigate this crime that is connected to additional robberies in surrounding counties.  

Just before 5:00 am on Thursday, June 13, 2019, officers with Morganton Public Safety responded to Speedway Convenience Store on South Sterling Street reference an armed robbery in progress. After arriving on the scene, officers came into contact with 3 black males dressed in dark clothing with handguns. The three suspects fled on foot.  The store clerk was forced at gun point out back door and over an embankment at the rear of the business.  The clerk was not harmed in the robbery.  Officers conducted a search of the immediate area and were unable to locate the suspects. 

Just after 5:30 am, a resident on West Parker Road called 911 to report two male suspects stealing a truck from the driveway.  Public Safety Officers located the truck on Interstate 40 East.  Officers engaged in a vehicle pursuit and chased the suspects to the Mineral Springs Mountain area where they crashed the stolen truck and fled again on foot. 

Around 1:15 pm, Investigators with Morganton Public Safety located one suspect, Kamua Jarak Clark of Shelby, walking on the side of the road on Hwy 18 South.  Clark was arrest and charged with Armed Robbery and Kidnapping.  He is confined in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $500,000 Secured Bond. 

ClarkKamua Jarak Clark

DOB:  01/20/2000

Address:  113 Davis Ridge Dr. Shelby, NC 









A multi-agency manhunt was conducted and continued into the late evening hours of June 13, 2019. Authorities from Morganton Public Safety and Burke County Sheriff’s Office remained in the area of Mineral Springs Mountain over night to ensure the safety of the area residents.

Around 1:00 pm on June 14, 2019, Burke County Deputies responded to 5313 Mineral Springs Mountain Ave. regarding a breaking and entering.  Deputies discovered the second robbery suspect, Darik Montre Williams inside the residence. 

Morganton Public Safety has charged Darik Williams with Armed Robbery and Kidnapping.  He is confined in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $500,000 secured bond. 



Darik Montre Williams

DOB:  4/16/99

Address:   835 Lincoln Drive Shelby, NC 

A third suspect, Stephen Jamal Craig, is still at large.  He is considered armed and dangerous and is wanted for Kidnapping and Armed Robbery.   If located, the public should not approach this individual.  Please contact your local law enforcement agnecy or Morganton Department of Public Safety at 828-437-1211.

                Wanted Person



DOB: 10/3/2000                                Age: 18

Race: Black                                      Hair: Black

Sex: Male                                          Eyes: Brown

Height: 5’8”                                       Weight: 140


Last Known Address: 2600 Elizabeth Ave., Shelby, NC

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.  Investigators have made direct links from this investigation to additional armed robberies in Kings Mountain on June 6th and June 11th, as well as an armed robbery in the City of Newton on June 12. 


On May 17, 2019, at 10:41 am, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to 118 Lenoir Road in reference to reports of a robbery where the caller, Richard Edgardo Hidalgo, was found to be suffering from gunshot wounds to the pelvic region.  Hidalgo reported that Ezra Harold Patton of 5543 White Oaks Drive in Morganton and Kristen Jewel Costner of 7860 Deerfarm Road in Morganton, arrived at his residence where a physical altercation began.


Officers were able to locate the Costner’s vehicle on Bouchelle Street where pursuit ensued.  The pursuit led officers down Bouchelle Street, to Sanford Drive and on to Kirksey Drive. The occupants of the vehicle stopped at the old Star Light Fish Camp on Amherst Rd.


Officers found the driver, Costner and the passenger, Patton, had life threatening stab wounds to the body.  Both Patton and Costner were transported to CHS Morganton where they were treated for their wounds.  Hidalgo was transported to CHS Morganton, where he was found to have gunshot wounds and a broken jaw. He was later transported to CHS Charlotte where he continues to receive medical treatment. Officers recovered a firearm that was tossed from the vehicle near Riverview Apartments.


Costner was released on May 19th from CHS Morganton where she was arrested on charges for Felonious Flee to Elude, Reckless Driving to Endanger, and a Stoplight Violation. Patton was later released from CHS Morganton on May 20, 2019.


Morganton Public Safety Investigators continue to speak with those involved and follow up on leads. Investigators with the State Bureau of Investigation assisted with the crime scene processing.  Anyone having information regarding this incident should contact Morganton/Burke Crime Stoppers.


On May 9 2019 at 6:18 pm, Morganton Public Safety Offices responded to a 911 call of a missing four year old male child.  Authorities responded to 105 Redbud Drive located inside the Council Oaks Development and began to search in and around the residence. 

The child’s mother, Victoria Howell, reported she had not seen the child in the residence for about 5-10 minutes when she began to look for him.  She then searched the area for a short time before calling 911.  When officers arrived at the development several adult and teens from the neighborhood were already searching the streets around the development.

Morganton Public Safety utilized the reverse 911 system to alert neighbors of the missing child and requested the assistance of Burke County Search and Rescue, On-duty NC Probation Officers and EMS to assist in the search. 

Officers were informed that the child had walked off before and usually walks toward Maplewood Drive which is about 200 feet from the residence. 

Approximately 30 minutes after the initial call was received Sgt. Carswell of Morganton Public Safety located the child floating face down in the pool behind 304 Maplewood Drive.  Officers began CPR and when EMS arrived the child was transported to CHS Morganton.  EMS and hospital staff attempted to revive the child without success.  The child was pronounced deceased at 7:52 pm. 

The Morganton Criminal Investigations Division is continuing with the investigation.


After a month long investigation into drug activity, The Morganton Department of Public Safety, Criminal Investigations Division executed a search warrant on the resident of Lisa and Angela Santana located at 200 Rockyford Street Morganton. 


As a result of the search, investigators located 16 grams of methamphetamine, heroin, prescription medications and multiple items of drug paraphernalia.  Lisa and Angela Santana were charged with felonious possession with intent to sell and deliver a schedule II substance.  Each received a $25,000 secured bond and has a pending court date of May 6, 2019 in Burke County District Court. 


Robert Francis Watlington and Dean Allen Oneil Jr. were also arrested at the residence.  Watlington was charged with felonious possession of a schedule II substance and Oneil was charged with felonious possession of a schedule I substance.  Both received a $25,000 secured bond and have a pending court date of May, 6, 2019 in Burke County District Court. 




On April 23, 2019 at approximately 8:44 p.m., Officers with Morganton Department of Public Safety were dispatched to a Breaking and Entering to a Vehicle at 100 Carbon City Rd that was in progress. BCECC advised that a male subject was inside a vehicle at 100 Carbon City Rd. The suspects fled the area when confronted by the owner and was described as a male with a dark colored hoodie and dark backpack. The suspects was reported to have gone behind the businesses at the Mimosa Shopping Center. Officer Beaver arrived shortly after the call was given out and located a subject matching the description walking behind Flex Gym.  The subject, James Staley (Age 26 of Morganton), was confirmed to be the suspect from the Breaking and Entering.  Staley was arrested and transported to the Magistrates office. Staley was charged with N.C.G.S. 14-56, Breaking and Entering into an Automobile, and then transported to Burke Catawba Detention Center.  Staley received a $10,000 secure bond and has an initially appearance on April 24, 2019.


Officers with Morganton Public Safety C Platoon responded to a Breaking and Entering in progress at 224 Summit Street, the Iglesia Terio Bet-El Church on 3/31/19. Upon the arrival the officers discovered that 2 bikes were on one of the sides of the church. Once a perimeter of the church was established, officers conducted a search. Two subjects one identified as Bernardo Garcia and the other a juvenile were locked in one of the rooms of the church. 

Bernardo Garcia was arrested and charged with Breaking and Entering Building That is a Place of Worship, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Larceny of Property, Receiving or Possessing Stolen Goods. Garcia was given a $5,000.00 bond. The juvenile was turned over to his mother and the Department of Juvenile Justice was notified. 

A search warrant was obtained for Garcia's residence and officers found a laptop that was taken the night before in a previous breaking and entering. All property that was taken on both occurrences was returned to the church. 

On March 28, 2019 at 6:30 AM Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to Everett Chevrolet at 145 Bush Drive, for a Larceny of wheels and tires from a 2019 Chevrolet Truck.  The 2019 Chevrolet Truck was found sitting on the frame in the lot of Everett Chevrolet missing the wheels and tires. 

Investigators with Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office identified the vehicle from surveillance video belonging to Michael Leroy Whisenant.  Mr. Whisenant was located at Walmart in Lenoir NC, with the stolen wheels and tires mounted to his truck. 

After further investigating, Investigators with Morganton Public Safety were able to link Whisenant’s vehicle to a prior larceny at Cloniger Ford on Jamestown Rd from March 13, 2018.

Michael Leroy Whisenant was arrested for Felony Larceny of Motor Vehicle Parts, Felony Possession of Stolen Property, and Damage to Property.  He is being held in the Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $25,000 secure bond. 

Surrounding counties are currently investigating similar cases involving Mr. Whisenant’s vehicle observed on camera as the suspect vehicle in their cases. 

On March 30, 2019 at 12:38 a.m., Morganton Department of Public Safety responded to a reported structure fire on Woodlawn Drive. 

The fire was reported to have started on the front porch and was moving into the residence. When units arrived on scene all occupants were outside of the residence. The first arriving units could see smoke coming from the front porch and garage area. Firefighters began fire suppression tactics quickly to bring the fire under control and prevented the residence from becoming fully involved. Firefighters were on scene for several hours extinguishing all existing hot spots inside the garage and roof line. Firefighters used thermal imaging cameras to check the residence and garage for any additional hot spots.

The residence had smoke and water damage. The estimated damage to the residence is $50,000. The fire likely stated in a cigarette butt container on the front porch and spread to the wall and roof area. 


Morganton Department of Public Safety was assisted by City of Morganton Electric and Piedmont Natural Gas.




          High winds and low humidity were major contributors to the rapid spread of a fire in a single family home on Friday afternoon.  The Morganton Department of Public Safety was dispatched to a structure fire at the corner of Vinearden Road and Jessie Drive on March 22, 2019 at 3:48 pm. Calls began coming in to the Burke County Communications Center at 3:47 pm and fire units were dispatched less than a minute later. The first units arrived on scene within two minutes to find heavy black smoke and flames pushing out of every door and window on the front of the structure. The smoke column could be seen from downtown according to several reports. Public Safety police and fire units combined to extinguish the fully involved structure. The fire had engulfed the rear of the house and was being pushed by the wind out the front and into the surrounding yard and wood line. A brush fire that was burning toward a neighboring house was quickly extinguished while crews put water from hoses on the fire in the house. Two nearby homes that were threatened by the fire were spared from damage by the quick actions of the firefighters.

            Initial reports were that the house may be occupied, but the four occupants of the home were quickly found to be out of town and accounted for. The house was a total loss but no loss of human life or injury occurred. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Morganton Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division as standard procedure but no indication of wrong-doing has been discovered or reported. Morganton Public Safety was assisted by Burke County EMS with an ambulance crew on hand to care for any injured victims or firefighters, but there were none. No mutual aid fire departments were called due to another large fire in the Triple Community Fire District requiring the aid of multiple departments and the NC Forest Service. Off duty officers from Morganton Public Safety were called in to assist with handling other police and fire calls within the city. Public Safety personnel rapidly extinguished another small outside fire near Burger King at the Plaza during this time as well, highlighting the hazardous conditions present Friday afternoon.

            With the coming of spring, the warming temperatures, low humidity and unstable weather conditions mark the beginning of wildfire and storm seasons. Strong, gusty winds will occur frequently and conditions can change very rapidly. The men and women of Morganton Public Safety want to encourage everyone enjoy the nice weather safely and to practice fire safety during camping and cook-outs. Plan for changing weather and be prepared to take shelter quickly in case of storms, including those that can generate lightning, tornadoes, falling trees and other hazardous conditions.

On 3/19/19 Kenneth Patrick Robinson was taken into custody following a traffic stop. This stemmed from a report of a stolen firearm from a residence in the City on 3/18/19. After Morganton Public Safety Officers on D platoon investigated this further it was found that Kenneth Robinson stole a Glock 23 (40 cal) pistol from the residence with several other items. During this traffic stop, information was gathered by officers which led them to another subject (juvenile) that was given the firearm to keep at his residence. Both Robinson and the juvenile (petition) were charged. 

Kenneth Robinson was charged with Breaking and Entering, Larceny of a Firearm, Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, Possession of Marijuana and Cyberstalking.

The juvenile was charged with possession the stolen firearm. 

In the early morning hours of 3-16-19 Nicholas Dalton Robinson (white male DOB 05-12-1994) went on a breaking and entering of motor vehicle spree in the neighborhoods of Dellwoods Heights, Conley Rd, and Foxfire Dr.  During this time he stole several items from vehicles that he broke into. While at 202 Dellwood Dr. Robinson stole a 2014 Silver Toyota Camry. At around 6:15 am Robinson went to Wal-Mart on West Fleming Drive and used a debit card that he had stolen from 213 Conley Rd to purchase several items.

Later on the same date the owner of the stolen Toyota Camry went to Wal-Mart where he spotted it in the parking lot with a white male asleep behind the wheel (Robinson). The owner called the police and officers responded to his location and took Robinson into custody, while he was still asleep.  When officers searched him the stolen debit card was found in his wallet.

 Officers immediately noticed that the aftermarket wheels on the Camry had been spray painted black while parked the the Wal-Mart parking lot. This was due to the fresh paint on the wheels and on the ground. Officers also noticed that Robinson had black paint on both of his hands. Once the officers saw the painted wheels they discovered that Robinson had started spray painting other parts of the vehicle. Several cans of black spray paint (purchased From Wal-Mart) were inside the vehicle. We believe Robinson was planning on spray painting the whole vehicle black. Officers located several other stolen items inside the vehicle from the other breaking and entering.  

Robinson was charged with the following charges

1 Felony count larceny of motor vehicle

1 Felony count possession of stolen vehicle

4 Felony counts of B& E to motor vehicle

4 Felony counts of possession of stolen property

2 misdemeanor counts of B& E to a motor vehicle

2 misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen goods

1 misdemeanor count of financial card fraud

1 misdemeanor count of damage to personal property

1 misdemeanor count of possessing of schedule IV


Robinson was placed in the Burke/Catawba jail under a $55,000.00 secured bond

All the vehicles that Robinson broke into were unlocked. So on behalf of the Morganton Department of Public Safety we remind you to please lock your doors and take valuables inside.   

On March 3, 2019 at approximately 7:50pm Officers with Morganton Public Safety responded to 118 Lenoir Road in reference to shots being fired into this residence. Upon arrival they spoke with Richard Hidalgo. Hidalgo, a female and a juvenile were present when they heard a loud noise and what they believed to be a firearm. A black passenger car and a white SUV were two vehicles in the area but it is not confirmed as to being associated with the incident. Morganton Public Safety Criminal Investigations responded and located 5 bullet holes at the residence. Further investigation is pending regarding this incident.  

On March 1, 2019 at 2:20 pm, Investigator’s with Morganton Public Safety executed a search warrant on the residence of Kolon Johnson located at 401 Bouchelle Street.  After a brief investigation, Mr. Kolen Johnson was identified as a suspect in recent breaking and enterings.  It was learned that Johnson was in possession of items stolen from those reports.

Morganton SWAT Team assisted with the search warrant execution.  After a search of the residence, investigators were able to locate some of the stolen property from nearby thefts. 

Kolon Lewis Johnson, age 45, was arrested and served with a warrant for Felonious Larceny from a person. These charges stem from an incident where a female victim had her purse stolen from her lap at the Family Coin Laundry on North Green Street.  Johnson is being held in Burke Catawba Detention Facility under a $10,000 secure bond. 

Additional warrants for felony breaking and enter, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods have been issued for larcenies and break-ins near Jonson’s residence.  These warrants are pending service at this time. 

Johnson has a court date set for March 4, 2019 at the Burke County Courthouse. 

On 02/15/2019 an investigation into a head on collision on Sanford Drive occurred. 

A dark colored SUV operated by Anndrel Royal was traveling SW on Sanford Drive. A Burke County F350 dually work truck operated by Jeffrey Cook was traveling NE on Sanford Drive. Witnesses stated that the dark colored SUV crossed over the double yellow lines into the travel lane of the F350 truck. This resulted in a head on collision with the vehicles. Both lanes of travel were blocked for a couple hours while officers investigated. 

The incident remains under investigation and further details will be released at a later time. 

     On 1/21/2019 Morganton Department of Public safety responded to 404 N. Green St. for a working structure fire.  Arriving units advised there was smoke coming from all windows and the eve of a house.  Fire fighters had the fire under control within 40 minutes.  The house was a complete loss.  Morganton Public Safety was assisted by Burke County REACT, Morganton Street Department, Morganton Electric and Burke County EMS.  At this time the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

  On Sunday January 13th at approximately 0900 Morganton Public Safety received a call of a possible structure fire at 304 Roper St. First arriving units reported heavy fire and smoke showing from the residence. Firefighters performed interior fire suppression tactics and extinguished the fire. All occupants and family dog were out of the structure upon arrival by fire personnel. No injuries to occupants or firefighters were reported.

  Firefighters brought the fire under control in approximately 30 minutes, but remained on the scene for around 2 hours. Morganton Public Safety responded with 16 personnel and 4 apparatus. American Red Cross responded to assist the occupants of the home with clothing and lodging. Morganton was also assisted by the city building inspector and city electric. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but is presumed to be unintentional at this time.