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Busted

by Amy Kingsley

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Crime

Winston-Salem Police are investigating the destruction of an herb garden on Westmoreland Drive sometime between Friday morning and Saturday night. Police responded to the complaint around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. The victim is Sharolyn Brigham Bishop, 56, and the police have officially classified the investigation as ongoing. The incident report did not include any information on the means of attack – whether the culprit employed invasive species, locusts, pruning shears or another weapon.

Making your mark

Winston-Salem Police officers collared Cortez Stephon Jones, 17, of 611 Countryside Court, last weekend in connection to a vandalism case dating back to March 11.

That was one busy night for Jones, the alleged vandal. It began just 25 minutes before midnight on that Wednesday night when neighbors called police to report a person spray painting vehicles in the parking lot of British Square Apartments. Jones hit eight vehicles before he fled the blue lights.

More than an hour later, police received another call about a vandalism in progress at North Forsyth High School, 5705 Shattalon Drive. The vandal damaged 27 school buses. All of them had been spray painted and most sustained additional damage like broken windows and mirrors. The perp also tagged a handful of signs and buildings.

According to The Winston-Salem Journal, it cost Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools $3,700 to repair the fleet. Most of the buses were fixed in time to make their morning pickups the next day.

Police noticed similarities between the vandalism at North Forsyth and British Square Apartments on the night of the incident. Jones’ mid-week exploits earned him nine counts of injury to personal property, defacing a public building and first degree trespassing.

Watching the detectives

Lots of little boys want to grow up to be police officers. But before they earn the right to serve and protect, there are a few… requirements. Some police departments demand a bachelor’s degree; for others an associate’s will do. Remember the Police Academy movies? Yeah, you gotta do that too.

Jeremiah Gaither and Anthony Turman didn’t finish any of it. That didn’t stop the duo, who were employed by Triton Special Police Department, from participating in police actions all over Greensboro.

According to a Greensboro Police Department press release, Gaither conducted a search on a room at the Cavalier Inn and received a break on his rent because he was a cop. Except he wasn’t.

Neither was his partner, Turman, who pulled over a driver in November, handcuffed him and searched his vehicle. He was charged with false imprisonment, and Gaither was charged with obtaining property by false pretenses.

Police served the owner of Triton Special Police, Melvin Dewitt Downing, with two arrest warrants for violating the NC Company Police Act. According to the police – the real police – Downing knowingly used Gaither and Turman in police actions despite the fact that both had failed licensing exams.

We get the abuse of power thing. But what doesn’t make sense about this case is that fact that Turman conducted a gang awareness training course for Guilford Metro 911, the agency in charge of dispatchers. Did he earn money for the class? If not, why did he do it?

Maybe Guilford County Metro would have been better served with a class on how to tell real cops from fake ones.

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