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Archive for April, 2012

NC lawmakers seek how to find unemployment fraud

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A North Carolina legislative panel is looking for ways to crack down on fraudulent unemployment compensation payments, but the lawmakers are learning that it’s tough to prove someone has been cheating the system.

A state Division of Employment Security spokeswoman told the House Unemployment Fraud Task Force on Wednesday that about 21,000 potential fraud investigations are in progress, while somewhere between 160 and 290 cases were turned over to prosecutors in each of the past four years.

Officials say criminal fraud is hard to prosecute since online or telephone applications make it hard to prove who applied for payments.

The panel is looking for ways to find and collect from cheaters to reduce the $2.6 billion North Carolina borrowed from Washington after state unemployment insurance funds ran out.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Pine Valley fire continues to smolder

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington firefighters warn hot spots in Pine Valley will be a danger until it rains. They responded to calls of heavy smoke and fire this morning.

Hot spots continue to smolder within the contained area along 17th Street and George Anderson Drive.

The fire broke out Monday afternoon forcing dozens of people to evacuate their homes for hours. Investigators believe it started with a campfire in the woods.

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Romney visiting Charlotte, Raleigh

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is visiting North Carolina, planning a speech near Bank of America Stadium where President Obama will accept the Democratic Party’s nomination later this year.

Romney plans to give a speech Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte in what his campaign calls a “prebuttal” to Obama’s acceptance speech in September.

The Massachusetts Republican is expected to focus on whether people are better off than they were when Obama accepted the nomination four years ago.

He will be raising money in both Charlotte and Raleigh.

Romney’s first stop is in Raleigh for a fundraising luncheon.

Republican Party officials estimate Romney could raise about $1 million at the two North Carolina events.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Break-in suspect nabbed by alert K-9 cop

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police say a K-9 officer and his dog nabbed a man believed to have committed five breaking and enterings and attempted break-ins in the past week.

Leroy Ronald Thompson, 45, is in the New Hanover County Jail under $200,000 bond.

Monday afternoon, Ofc. Kirti Vithalani and K-9 “Arko” were patrolling on West Lake Shore Drive when police say Ofc. Vithalani spotted a 2004 Cadillac matching the description of the car seen at some of the recent break-ins at various gas stations around the city.

When he turned around to try and stop the car, the driver pulled over, but as Vithalani got out of his car, police say the man sped away. A short pursuit ended in the parking lot at Cape Fear Hospice on Physicians Drive. Police say the suspect jumped out of his car and ran, but Vithalani and Arko caught him. According to Ofc. Vithalani, Thompson “moved very quickly once he took off.”

WPD detectives have been able to link Thompson to break-ins or attempts at Kangaroo Express at 2028 Oleander Dr on Wednesday, 11 April; Wilco Gas Station at 5701 Oleander Dr the same day; Go Gas at 6308 Market St on Friday, 13 April; Gas Center at 1301 Military Cutoff the same day; and Gas Center at 425 College Rd on Saturday, 14 April. In all of these crimes, the suspect either broke out or attempted to break out the store windows.

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FBI’s civil rights unit probes Chadbourn shooting death

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) – The FBI’s civil rights unit has joined an investigation into a Charlotte teenager’s shooting death while she visited relatives in Chadbourn.

The Charlotte Observer reports a State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman confirms the FBI is helping uncover whether 16-year-old Jasmine Thar’s shooting was an accident or a crime.

Thar was shot Dec. 23 as she stood in the front yard of a Columbus County home with a friend and the godmother she was visiting. One bullet fired from inside a home across the street killed Thar and wounded the others.

James Blackwell told Chadbourn police his rifle fired without pulling the trigger. Dozens of lawsuits against North Carolina-based Remington Arms Co. claim its 700-series rifles have fired without a trigger pull, which the company disputes.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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