Gaston Man Wanted for Burglary

 (WLTX) – A Gaston man is wanted by the Lexington County Sheriffs Department in connection to a break-in.

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department fugitive investigators are seeking help from citizens in finding a 29-year-old Gaston man who is wanted on an arrest warrant in connection with a break-in that occurred at a garage outside a home on Platt Springs Road near Lexington on January 16.

Lexington County Sheriff Lewis McCarty said Matthew Alexander Young, 29, is wanted on an arrest warrant on a charge of third-degree burglary. The sheriff said Young should be considered to be armed and dangerous.

An arrest warrant alleges that at about 11:32 a.m. on January 16, Young entered a garage that is detached from a home on Platt Springs Road. Officers say Young stole electronic tools, other electronic items and food from the garage. Detectives say Young then pawned some of the stolen items for cash at a local pawn show. Officers also recovered additional stolen items at a home on Deer Moss Trail near Lexington.

Gaston Police Chief Shawn Mohundro said Young also is wanted on an arrest warrant that the Gaston Police Department obtained for Young on a charge of armed robbery. The arrest warrant alleges that at about 9 a.m. on Monday, February 23 Young robbed the Gaston Family Pharmacy on Mack Street, stealing prescription medication. Young left the pharmacy in a green Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle.

Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC, or e-mail a tip in to www.midlandscrimestoppers.com. You can also text information in by texting “TIPSC” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). Either way you choose, your identity will remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward.

Men arrested for breaking into two school buildings

WACH) – Lexington County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrested an 18-year-old Lexington man and 20-year-old Lexington man, Tuesday, on charges that the two men broke into buildings at local schools.

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson John Allard said the men broke into buildings at the Lexington Technology Center on Augusta Highway near Lexington and Lexington High School on Augusta Highway near Lexington between 10 p.m. on February 21 and 6 a.m. on February 22.

Deputies also charged the two men with breaking into a motor vehicle that was parked at a Lexington County School District One maintenance building on Pisgah Church Road near Lexington during the same period of time that the school burglaries occurred.

Lexington County Sheriff Lewis McCarty said a school resource officer obtained arrest warrants for Alexander Rhodes Jeffcoat, 18, of 301 Harbor Heights Drive in Lexington; and Joseph Eric Perrotta, 20, of 161 Foley Lane in Lexington, on two counts each of second-degree burglary and one count each of breaking into a motor vehicle and criminal conspiracy.

Arrest warrants allege that between 10 p.m. on February 21 and 6 a.m. on February 22 Jeffcoat and Perrotta unlawfully entered a building at the Lexington Technology Center in order to try to steal a golf cart that was worth about $500, McCarty said. The golf cart was in a classroom that is used to teach students about small motors.

Arrest warrants allege that Jeffcoat and Perrotta stole athletics booster club clothing and other items that were worth between $500 and $1,000 from Lexington High School. Deputies recovered the stolen clothing and other items at the homes of Jeffcoat and Perrotta.

In addition, arrest warrants allege that between 10 p.m. on February 21 and 6 a.m. on February 22 Jeffcoat and Perrotta broke into a 2008 white Chevrolet van that was parked at a School District One maintenance building and stole one red tool box and one iPad tablet computer.

The school resource officer conducted the investigation in cooperation with School District One, McCarty said.

McCarty asked anyone with information about the involvement of Jeffcoat or Perrotta in additional criminal activity to contact the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department at (803) 785-8230 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Citizens also can provide information anonymously by accessing the Crime Tip link on the Sheriff’s Department web site (www.lexingtonsheriff.com).

Lexington Medical Center/Blue Cross Blue Shield Reach Agreement

After months of negotiation and just before a March 1st deadline, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina and the Lexington Medical Center have reached an agreement that keeps the Midlands medical care giant and affiliated physicians in the Blue Cross Preferred Blue network.

Following is a statement posted on the BCBS website this evening:

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Lexington Medical Center have reached agreement on their contract, which will keep the medical center, its affiliated physicians and its other health care providers in the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Preferred Blue® (PPO) network. There will be no interruption of in-network coverage.

Together, we agreed to work collaboratively to improve health care quality and patient outcomes while also reducing medical expenses.

We understand the important roles that we play as providers of health care and as a health insurer, and most importantly want you to know how much we value you, our patients and members. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by our earlier inability to reach agreement.

Face-lift for Batesburg-Leesville industrial area

A long-wanted face-lift is starting at an industrial area in Batesburg-Leesville.

After a 13-year wait, Lexington County and town leaders are adding roads, water and sewer at the 176-acre tract on the east edge of the community.

“It’s been a long haul to get to where we are,” town Mayor Rita Crapps said.

The improvements should be complete by Dec. 31, officials said.

It’s not clear how long it will take the $4 million project to produce a payoff, but Crapps predicted “somebody will bite the hook” once the facilities are ready.

Adding the improvements is vital to attract jobs to the town of 5,400 residents. Companies looking to expand want parcels that can be used quickly instead of waiting for roads and utilities to be brought in, officials say.

“It’s had looks but it needs to have adequate infrastructure,” said Chuck Whipple, county economic development director.

Town leaders are borrowing $2 million to install water and sewers, a step Crapps said doesn’t require raising taxes or local utility bills. County leaders are ready to use $2 million set aside in fall 2012 for roads on the tract.

The area is off the beaten path for commercial development, located 10 miles north of I-20 in the rural western edge of the county. It’s the oldest of three sites county officials are developing for new industry, with tax gains from each area divided among schools across the county.

Only an industrial basin manufacturer has located in Batesburg-Leesville site during the 16 years its has been open.

Town officials expect a dozen companies – mainly small manufacturers and warehouses – to call the area home eventually.

A slice of the site could be converted into a spot for recreation.

Town leaders hope to make a 6-acre pond on its edge a park open to employees and residents.

One Dead After Accident in Lexington County

(WLTX) – One person is dead following a single-vehicle collision in Lexington County Saturday morning.

Troopers say a 2007 Dodge Ram Pickup Truck was traveling on Old Charleston Highway at Canal Street around 6:50 a.m. when it ran off the roadway and overturned. They say the driver was the only occupant and was ejected from the vehicle.

Officials say the driver was not wearing a seat belt.

The accident remains under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Lexington’s domestic violence approach is saving lives

 (WCIV) — The latest alleged case of domestic violence highlights the attention that many police agencies are looking at as they tackle the ongoing problem.
A sheriff’s office near Columbia is facing it head on — and the results are impressive.

At the entrance to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, phone numbers for domestic violence hotlines are posted for every visitor to see.

“These are reports that I plan on reviewing. This is actually some legislation I’m supposed to look at,” explained Nicole Howland as she looks at numerous files and folders on her desk. She works only select cases.

“Anything that is related to intimate partner violence that’s summary court level comes through here,” said Howland.

She’s a prosecutor for the sheriff’s department. She and five investigators work in a special unit dedicated to domestic violence.

“The goal of the unit is to have effective law enforcement response that enhances victim safety and provides offender accountability,” said Howland.

Part of that accountability includes detailed incident reports prepared by deputies after they respond to a call.

“If it is labeled as a domestic related offense, they must write a report. That way we can track what’s going on in a relationship,” explained Howland.

“Anything we do in this job is dangerous. Particularly with domestics,” admitted Steve Gamble.

The veteran detective also works in the unit. Along with tracking cases, he spends time at the courthouse. From a window, he watches victims arrive and protects them possible intimidation when their accused batterer is in court.

“We’re able to hold defendants accountable with their no contact bond restrictions. We’re able to move cases better,” said Detective Gamble.

“I think any group of highly motivated people with a common goal can get to where they want to be,” said Howland.

She credits a strong commitment from law enforcement, the courts, victim advocates, and a strong batterer treatment program for reversing the death toll from those who are killed by their partners.

“Within the unincorporated areas of Lexington County, we’ve gone several years at a time with not a single domestic violence homicide when we had nine in 2001 when I started,” explained Howland.

Still, her department handled nearly six hundred cases last year alone. Howland and her team know their work is far from over.

“We know when we fail, because someone ends up dead or someone gets hurt,” said Howland.

She says a unit like hers isn’t one-size-fits-all. Howland believes every agency has a different dynamic. What works in Lexington may not work everywhere.

Homeowner Confronts, Detains Armed Robber to Save Family

(WLTX)- What would you do if you opened a door in your home and saw the end of a shot gun?

For one Midlands man, protecting his family was all that mattered.

“I figure that’s what any husband or father would do,” David Platts said.

Platts says he discovered a man crouched in his laundry room, pointing a shotgun directly at him early Saturday morning.

He says he doesn’t remember anything that went through his head before he lunged at the intruder…except for one thing.

“The only thing I do remember was that I knew if he got past me, he was going to go after my wife and my daughter.”

Within seconds, Platts says he was able to pry the shotgun from the intruder’s hands.

“I called for my wife and she took the shotgun out of my hand,” he said.

Their daughter, 17 years old, was the one who called police while wife Carrie Platts held the shotgun at the intruder. They say he broke in through their doggy door.

“When David had him on the floor he just kept staring at my daughter. and now when she closes her eyes at night that’s all she sees,” Carrie said. “We’re all having trouble sleeping. we’re having trouble just being here because you’re been invaded. your home’s been invaded. your privacy’s been taken away.”

Unknown to the Platts family at the time, arrest warrants say the intruder Jahmand Mcneill, along with two accomplices, broke into a home down the street, locked a couple in their shower, and threatened to kill their three children.

And even though Platts’ quick thinking landed the three suspects in jail, he doesn’t consider himself a hero.

“I see where people are calling me a hero. to me, I’m not a hero. I did what a father and husband is supposed to do.”

He says that title belongs to someone else.

“It felt like an eternity but it wasn’t more than three minutes to five before the first law enforcement officer arrived,” he said. “So you know, my hats off to them. those guys are the heroes.”

Now the Platts family says they are just eager to heal.

“It’s going to take time. If you get to where you don’t feel like you can be safe in your own home, where can you go to be safe?”

The three suspects are being held without bond.