Pickens County to suspend credit card use, offers reimbursement

Announcements, News
Pickens County Government

Some employees express concern the county  is “going backwards.”

The Pickens County Board of Commissioners Rob Jones and Jerry Barnes, voted to cancel all  county credit cards immediately and move to a purchase order/reimbursement system. Commissioner Becky Denney was absent.

Pickens County

Faye Harvey, Finance Director for Pickens County, asked the board to approve a motion to cancel the county’s credit cards at a called meeting on Thursday. The board approved the motion despite concerns from several employees.

Faye Harvey, finance director, asked for the change at Thursday’s called meeting. The move would mean employees making purchases would use their personal debit or credit cards, then submit paperwork through their department to get reimbursed.

It was met with concern from several employees from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department.

“So, if we have to pay for something like a new blue light, we’d have to wait weeks to be reimbursed?” asked Lt. Mitch Yeargin with the Sheriff’s Department. “It seems like we are going backwards.”

Harvey defended the change saying that the Pickens County Board of Education and school system does not have any credit cards and that the move would put the responsibility on employees.

credit cards

Photo by Robert Born of Unsplash.com
Pickens County commissioners approved a measure that would cancel all county credit cards effective immediately and switch to a reimbursement plan. The action was met with concern and frustration from several employees with the Picken’s County Sheriff’s Department.

Lt. June Blackwell expressed concern saying the move came after an employee abused the privilege and was terminated.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said after the meeting.

Sgt. Jody Weaver also expressed concern saying that many county employees work for $13 per hour and can’t afford to wait on reimbursement which could take weeks. “They can’t afford to finance the county,” he said.

“If it takes weeks, you need to contact me,” Harvey assured them. “It shouldn’t take that long at all.”

She said the county would keep credit cards for Home Depot, gas cards and have accounts will local merchants which would cover most expenses.

“If it goes on the county credit card, the county is liable for that charge, even if it isn’t authorized,” she said as the reason for the change.

Board Chairman Rob Jones agreed. “If I were you, I’d cancel the cards after the meeting.”

Harvey said she would wait until Friday to cancel the cards and the county would honor the debts.

TRENDING: See who is in the August 11th run-off election here. Check back for candidate interviews.

Most of the board’s agenda dealt with minor business that accumulated during the shut-down. In other board news, the board:

Recognized employees Robert Olsen and Jackie Hendrix, both with the sheriff’s department for 10 years of service.

Recognized Becky Hammontree with 20 years service to the county.

Approved purchasing a used surplus bus from North Georgia Community Action for $5,500. The bus has a working wheelchair ramp and the purchase is contingent on inspection and good working order.

 

 

Student charged with disorderly conduct after bringing BB gun to school

News
BB gun

PICKENS COUNTY, Ga – Pickens County School Resource Officers (SRO) searched a student’s vehicle on Thursday, Jan. 9, after receiving a credible report from a Pickens County High School (PCHS) teacher, and found a BB gun inside the car.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) have released the following details.

SRO actively investigated the possibility of a student allegedly making threats to kill another student throughout the day. While this investigation was underway, a teacher overheard students stating that the same student involved in the other incident had a gun at the school.

The gun turned out to be a BB gun, but it was very realistic in appearance. The image attached is of the gun. In addition, ammunition for another handgun was found, but the weapon that it belonged to was not in the vehicle.

Following the investigation, the student was charged with Disorderly Conduct.

In 2019 alone, there were over 40 active shooter incidents that occurred in schools throughout the United States. PCSO has promised that any time they receive information related to threats or weapons with school, they will always take that threat seriously and investigate every incident.

This isn’t the first time in the 2019-2020 school year that PCHS has received school shooting threats. A student issued threats over social media in fall of 2019.

Image courtesy of PCSO.

Six arrested in connection with arson at two restaurants

Featured Stories, Police & Government
Arson

PICKENS COUNTY, Ga – Six individuals were arrested over the weekend on suspected arson charges for fires set at Bee’s Home Cookin’ and Mary Anne’s County Cooking restaurants.

After following up on leads during numerous theft investigations, Pickens County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) Detectives began collaborating with Jasper Fire Department, and the State Fire Investigations Unit under the Department of Criminal Investigations to verify all incoming information. Over the course of the investigation, the evidence determined that Tyler Jose Suarez (age 23 of Jasper), owner of Bee’s Home Cookin’ restaurant,  allegedly conspired with other persons, Miguel Suarez (age 20 of Jasper), William Alex Cannady (age 18 of Ellijay), Nicholas Buchanan (age 25 of Jasper), and Charles Cole Wilson (age 18 of Talking Rock) to commit an arson at Mary Anne’s Country Cooking restaurant on Oct. 6, 2019.

The investigation also revealed that  Buchanan and Cannady were arrested during the break-in of a home on Hwy. 136, Burnt Mountain. The suspects were caught leaving a residence with a variety of items believed to have been stolen from a building on the property. This case is still being actively investigated.

While continuing the interviews and investigations, PCSO Detectives assisted the State Fire Marshals investigation into the Nov. 5, 2019 arson at Bee’s Home Cookin’ restaurant. This investigation determined that Tyler Suarez conspired with Hank Wilson (age 46 of Talking Rock) to commit arson at Tyler Suarez’s own establishment, Bee’s Home Cookin’ restaurant. The investigation revealed that both Miguel Suarez and Cole Wilson, the son of Hank Wilson, allegedly, actively participated in the commission of the arson at Bee’s Home Cookin’ restaurant.

Tyler Jose Suarez faces one count of first-degree arson and was taken into custody on Nov. 23. He was previously charged with one count of first-degree arson in connection to the Bee’s Home Cookin’ fire on Nov 7.

William Cannadywas arrested on Nov. 21 and charged with one count of first-degree arson and one count of first-degree burglary.

Also taken into custody on Nov. 21, Nicholas Buchanan, 25, was charged with one count of first-degree arson and one count of first-degree burglary.

Hank Eugene Wilson, Jr. arrested on Nov. 23 has a list of charges including use of tag to conceal identity of a vehicle, first-degree arson, conspiracy to commit a felony, driving with a suspended license, unregistered vehicle, and removing tag to conceal.

Charles Cole Wilson arrested on Nov. 23 and charged with two counts of first-degree arson.

Miguel Suarez arrested Nov. 23, was charged with two counts of first-degree arson.

Charles Wilson

William Cannady

Miguel Suarez

Hank Wilson

Arson

Tyler Suarez

Nicholas Buchanan

The arson cases are actively being investigated to identify the remaining details.

PCSO worked closely throughout the investigation with the City of Jasper Fire Department, the State Fire Investigations Unit, and the polygrapher team from the John’s Creek Police Department.

Sheriff Craig stated, “It is amazing how well this investigation worked with the men and women from each of these agencies working around the clock to bring closure to these two cases.” Craig continued by saying “partnerships with these other agencies have continued to help us serve our citizens with the best possible law enforcement services.

All defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

Sheriff’s Office Confirms Threats Related to Transgender Bathrooms

Announcements, News, Press Release
transgender

JASPER, GA – Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the several reports of threats and safety concerns regarding the now suspended transgender bathroom procedure at Pickens County Schools.

The Sheriff’s Office has been actively involved in a couple of incidents listed below.

On Thursday, October 10th,  a student made two statements on social media. One encouraged other students to lash out in violence against other students. The second statement was generic but referred to individuals that signed a petition making good target practice. The student called individuals who signed the petition against the transgender bathroom policy, “transphobic.”

Within an hour of the post, deputies were with the student and parents at the student’s home. Following the investigation, the student was charged as a juvenile with disorderly conduct.

During the following days, Pickens Sheriff’s office has received two reports of threatening graffiti found in Pickens High School bathrooms. One piece used images to illustrate an anti-gay viewpoint while the other depicted an anti-transgender stance. Both instances occurred before the Monday meeting.

At the high school, two students have reported bullying issues to School Resource Officers (SRO). These issues were investigated by administrators and deputies and appropriate disciplinary action has been taken.

SRO officers are also investigating the rumors of boys peeing in the girls’ restrooms and in the hallways. However, at this time, camera footage doesn’t substantiate these claims. Neither have they found evidence of someone defecating in front of the school.

One instance of possible urination may have in fact been another liquid due to the highly trafficked area, where it supposedly occurred. It wouldn’t have been easy for someone to use the bathroom in that area without being noticed.

The sheriff’s office is also investigating threatening calls and social media posts that were made to school administrators and at least one board member. A detective is working the case to determine the nature of the threats made and identify where they originated. At this time, it’s too early to tell the type of threat that was made. The detective is working to try and identify the caller and what actually happened, so they can take appropriate action. These calls started on Thursday but weren’t reported until later.

Pickens Sheriff’s Office intends to take every threat or vandalism seriously in order to protect the school system. Deputies are constantly monitoring the school and have heightened security in place.

The school reinstated separate male and female restrooms on Oct. 16. Last week, in an administrative action, a transgender bathroom rule was put into place that allowed students to use the bathroom that they identify with. However, after a three-hour public forum on Monday, the school went back to the previous procedure for transgender students to use the nurse’s or teacher’s lounge bathroom.

 

21 Car Break-Ins on August 24, Deputies Advise to Lock Doors

Announcements, News
break-ins

Jasper, Ga  –  The Pickens Sheriff’s Office uniform patrol and criminal investigations divisions are investigating a rash of car break-ins in the Wild Timber and Winchester Oaks subdivisions. In the early morning hours of Saturday, August 24th, approximately 21 unlocked automobiles were entered, resulting in multiple theft reports of belongings, including 5 firearms. One vehicle, a 2019 Ford Explorer, was stolen, and later tracked and recovered, in Lithonia, Georgia.

As of Tuesday, some items from other vehicles were recovered from the cars and returned to owners. However, some of the items stolen include firearms and authorities advise that the wrong-doers could be armed and dangerous. If you notice any suspicious activity, contact Pickens County Sheriff’s Office by dialing 911. Do not attempt to confront any unknown individuals in your neighborhood under unusual circumstances.

Law enforcement advises citizens to turn on the lights and call 911 immediately.

Several surrounding counties have experienced similar mass car break-ins, including Cherokee, Forsyth, and Bartow. The evidence suggests crimes are related and law enforcement working together to hopefully find the perpetrators.

As soon as recovered evidence and belongings are properly processed, Pickens deputies will be contacting victims to identify items.

They are asking ALL Pickens County residents to please maintain security of your vehicles and homes at all times. Please lock your vehicles, recreational vehicles, campers, etc. Please remove valuables and refrain from leaving valuables in plain sight, even in locked vehicles.

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office also requesting assistance from the local community with solving this investigation, but as mentioned earlier do not approach the suspects.

If you are a resident in the vicinity of these two (2) neighborhoods and have any form of camera/surveillance footage that could be beneficial to this investigation, please contact the criminal investigations division at 706-253-8900.

Additionally, Nelson experienced a number of overnight car break-ins over the weekend as well.

This is an active and ongoing investigation. More information will be provided as we learn more.

Pickens Detectives Arrest Business Owner in Inappropriate Sexual Conduct Investigation

News
inappropriate sexual

Pickens County, GA  – On Monday, August 5, 2019, Pickens’ Detectives and Uniform Patrol Deputies arrested Jeremy Lee Remlinger at his business located at near the  Georgia Highway 53 East and Camp Road intersection for inappropriate sexual conduct with minors.

Detectives are conducting an ongoing investigation, based on reports that Remlinger had inappropriate sexual contact with minors in Pickens County, GA. At the time of his arrest, his offenses included: Rape, Statutory Rape, Child Molestation, Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes, Sexual Battery, Solicitation of Sodomy,  False Imprisonment, and Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation.

Remlinger is a Registered Sex Offender in Pickens County GA. Additionally, the active investigation expects to add charges against Remlinger as it continues.

Fetch Your News will update this story as more information becomes available.

Fugitive still being sought by Sheriff’s Office

News, Press Release

Courtesy of the Picken’s County Sheriff’s Office. Click to enlarge.

JASPER, Ga. – The Picken’s County Sheriff’s Office is still seeking the whereabouts of Dustin Anthony Fendley for outstanding warrants as of Wednesday, June 19, 2019.

Fendley is wanted for aggravated assault, battery against a pregnant female and false imprisonment.

This information was posted to the Picken’s County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 5:07 pm, but according to Captain Kris Stancil, Fendley still hasn’t been located.

He was last seen on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in the area of Wilderness Parkway in the Big Canoe Subdivision / Community, though it is believed he has since fled the area.

He has been known to drive a silver 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais with the Georgia tag RQH1301, as well as a black pickup truck. The Sheriff’s Office describes him as a 35 year old caucasian male with blue eyes and brown shaved hair, five feet nine inches tall, 205 pounds, fair complexion with a visible scar on his chin.

Fendley is a registered sex offender and is currently on parole with the Department of Community Supervision, though he has removed his ankle monitor.

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Fendley please contact the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office or 911.
 
 
 
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INMATE SUICIDE IN THE PICKENS SHERIFF’S OFFICE ADULT DETENTION CENTER

Police & Government

Pickens County Georgia, May 2, 2017: During the night of Friday, April 28th, an inmate hung himself in a holding cell of the Adult Detention Center. Detention Officers located an inmate hanging from the bunk bed in his holding cell.

Detention Officers immediately began CPR and continued to do CPR and attempted to use an AED defibrillator until the arrival of Emergency Medical Personnel. Upon the arrival of medical personnel, the inmate was transported to Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, where he was pronounced after attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Due to the nature of the death being a suicide, we are not releasing the inmate’s name at this time.

The inmate had been arrested earlier in the day for the misdemeanor charges of Simple Battery and Criminal Trespass. He was still in the holding area awaiting an opportunity to post his bond. There were no additional inmates in the cell with him at the time of the incident. The individual was a 48 year old, white male. He was arrested locally, not housed for another jurisdiction.

Due to the incident involving an inmate in custody, Sheriff Craig requested the aid of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Due to the active nature of the investigation, additional details related to the incident are not available now.

Authorities investigating a pedestrian fatality in Pickens County

News

FetchYourNews.com has confirmed with authorities an accident which occurred earlier Tuesday evening, January 17th has resulted in a fatality.

According to Captain Kris Stancil with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, deputies are currently assisting the Georgia State Patrol and emergency crews on a pedestrian accident involving a fatality in the area of Big Ridge Road.

Specific details are not available at this time.  FYN will update as more information is known.

 

Pickens Sheriff’s Office issues Update on missing person in Pickens County

News

According to the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office the missing person search has ended with sad news. The information was updated Dec 9th at approximately 8pm.

UPDATE ON MISSING PERSON

It is with great sadness that we report that Mr. Robert Joseph Petti was found deceased today near his residence.

This case is currently still under investigation, and we will provide additional information as soon as it is available.

Please keep Mr. Petti’s family in your thoughts and prayers.

 

 

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Pickens County Sheriff’s office searching for Missing Man

News

 

Pickens County Sheriff’s office have been searching for a missing man since earlier on October 16th.   Ben Thebaut, a 79 year old white male, who was seen leading his residence in the Preserve subdivision to walk in the woods.  Thebaut, a retired doctor, was thought to be in good physical health and routinely took walks around his home.  At this time, he has not returned home. His clothing description is unknown at this time.

Detectives and Deputies from the Pickens Sheriff’s Office are working closely with first responders from the Pickens Fire Department to locate him.  The PCSO has stated they know people are concerned and wanting to assist in the search for Mr. Thebaut.   They used a helicopter to scan  the area and a K9 team in the woods. They had to spend time searching for helpful neighbors that were detected from the air and the individuals in the woods prevented the dog from having good success.

FYN contacted Kris Stancil with the Pickens County Sheriff’s office who said he has been on the search team in the woods.

Please do not go into the area until the search is broadened in a safe manner.  If you have any information on the whereabouts of Mr Thebaut, please call 911 and relay that information.  FetchYourNews.com will update as more info becomes available.

 UPDATE:
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has released the following statement:

Pickens Sheriff’s Office and Pickens Fire are currently in the Sharp Mountain Preserve Subdivision attempting to locate a missing 79 year old white male. He was last seen walking near his home on Terrace Way at around 3 pm yesterday, wearing a brown sweatshirt and a camouflage “boonie” style hat. His name is Ben Thebaut. Ben is 5’09” tall and weighs 180 lbs with grey balding hair.

Mr. Thebaut has been suffering from dementia like symptoms but this prognosis has not been confirmed by a doctor at this time.

Crews from the Sheriff’s Office, Fire and air support from the Georgia State Patrol searched well into the night and then the investigation moved into the office to begin tracking any possible destinations that Mr. Thebaut could have been traveling to. At day break, crews were joined by the Georgia Department of Natural Resouces on the ground and air support, Georgia Department of Corrections and Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office and searching has resumed ever since. At this time, search and rescue teams from Cherokee County are responding to assist as well.

If anyone sees or has any information on the whereabouts of Mr. Thebaut, please call 911 and let them know. At this time, we are only utilizing fire and law enforcement units in the search to ensure that we can use the canine capabilities and safe conditions can be monitored. In the event that the search does expand, the Pickens Sheriff’s Office will share this information on their Facebook site.

Updated: Pickens County High School Teacher Arrested for Inappropriate Contact with Students

Featured, News

Mr. Daniel Culbreth, a math teacher at Pickens High School, was arrested on Thursday night (October 6, 2016) for Computer Exploitation of Children and Sexual Assault by Persons with Supervisory Authority.  Culbreth, also a PCHS running back coach was arrested for DUI of alcohol in 2015. (see arrest/booking report below). The arrest came during an investigation into inappropriate communications with a student. Led by Detective Steven Holmes of the Pickens Sheriff’s Office, who also serves as an agent for the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, detectives began following up on a tip that Mr. Culbreth had been using the popular teen social media app Snapchat to communicate with female students. According to the information received by detectives, the content of some of his communication was highly inappropriate. After receiving and verifying this information, Pickens Sheriff’s Office Detectives executed a search warrant on Mr. Culbreth’s Snapchat account and found this information to be true.

booking-report-edited

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Numerous Pickens High school students were identified in the content of Mr. Culbreth’s Snapchat account. The content indicates that Culbreth had engaged in inappropriate conversations with several students. As a result, search warrants were obtained which led to additional information being gathered. This information together with multiple interviews with students verified Mr. Culbreth had multiple cyber relationships with students and had a physical relationship with at least one student.

Once verified, Mr. Culbreth was arrested without incident and is currently being held at the Pickens County Adult Detention Center. He is awaiting a First Appearance Hearing before a Judge to determine if bond will be set.

Detectives are also examining all evidence, and additional charges may be forthcoming.

Sheriff Donnie Craig stated, “In cases like this, nobody wins.” He went on to explain, “Yes, we may have made a good arrest, but a number of teenage girls have been made victims by someone that we, as parents, have entrusted to care for them.”

The Pickens Sheriff’s Office is urging parents to be very proactive in knowing how their kids are using social media. Detective Steven Holmes urges parents to “know who your kids are talking to and what they are sending over these sites.” If you believe that your child may have been a victim of inappropriate communication with Mr. Daniel Culbreth, you can contact the Criminal Investigation Division of the Pickens Sheriff’s Office at 706-253-8935.

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to prevent your child from becoming a victim of internet crimes, please visit http://www.gaicactaskforcecom.

Murder for Hire Plot Results in Arrest by PCSO

Featured, News

PCSOPR

Pickens County Deputy notices suspicious activity leading to drug – gun arrest

News

On May 10th, Tuesday evening,  around 4:00 PM, Deputy Tucker was returning to headquarters from apprehending a fleeing felon that he had to chase on foot and deploy his K9 partner – Flash. He noticed two suspicious people looking into the windows of a camper in the area of Refuge and Parker Roads. Deputy Tucker stopped to investigate and one individual gave him a false name (using a name of an individual that Tucker knew well). Deputy Tucker then ran a check of the motorcycle that the suspect was driving and it revealed that it was stolen.

After a brief altercation, where nobody was injured, the suspects were detained. A search of the suspects and the motorcycle yielded close to 100 grams of methamphetamine, a loaded handgun, and over $4500 in cash.

The suspects were later identified as Mason Pittman and Richard Yeaney. Both suspects were placed under arrest and transported to the Pickens County Adult Detention Center.

Pickens County Sheriff’s office makes drug arrest after routine traffic stop

News

The Pickens Sheriff’s Office made an arrest on drugs on May 11th after a report of a speeding motorist.

Following up on a lookout for a speeding motorist, Sgt Travis Curran  found the vehicle and made a traffic stop after noticing the registration was expired. The driver then gave Sgt Curran consent to check the vehicle, and the methamphetamine and paraphernalia were found leading to the arrest of Matthew Perrick of the Atlanta area. (see pictures below)

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Great job Sergeant Curran!

Pickens Sheriff’s office looking for wanted man

Police & Government

The Pickens Sheriff’s Office is currently looking for Joseph David Godfrey. He is wanted for the charges of Aggravated Assault,  Terroristic Threats, and False Imprisonment.  He was last seen riding in a gold Mazda pickup or a white Buick car. He is known to be moving back and forth between Pickens County and Gilmer County.

If you have any information on Godfrey or his whereabouts, please contact the Criminal Investigations Division at (706) 253-8935 or after 5pm or on weekends, please contact Pickens County 911 at (706) 253-8911.

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