Siler City PD works to solve three highly publicized crimes

Posted 3/8/19

SILER CITY — The Siler City Police Department is working to resolve three highly publicized crimes that have occurred within the past month.

Most recently, a woman was assaulted and seriously …

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Siler City PD works to solve three highly publicized crimes

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Posted

SILER CITY — The Siler City Police Department is working to resolve three highly publicized crimes that have occurred within the past month.

Most recently, a woman was assaulted and seriously injured in an attempted armed robbery at the Walmart parking lot early Monday morning.

The victim, Walmart Associate Charlotte Kopietz, was taking a break from work around 12:45 a.m. when two men, who were unknown to her, followed her to her car, according to Siler City interim Police Chief Jeanne Miller.

The suspects attempted to rob her and, when unsuccessful, stabbed her multiple times, including a cut to her throat. Kopietz was transported to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for treatment of her injuries.

“My understanding is that she is in stable condition,” Miller said Tuesday.

The Siler City Police Department believes there are two suspects, but has been unable to fully interview the victim because of her condition, Miller said.

Initial descriptions are that one of the men, of unknown race, was 5’7” tall, wore a black hat with a grey hoodie, black pants and black shoes. The other suspect was wearing white running shoes. The department has shared surveillance video of the suspects on the Siler City Police Department’s Facebook page, but have been unable to isolate a single image from the video to share. They are currently working to determine the suspect vehicle by reviewing the video.

The department is also investigating a spree of drive-by vandalisms that occurred two weekends ago in which the suspects are believed to have used a pellet gun and rocks to cause damage to several businesses.

The vandalism spree stretched from West Raleigh Street through downtown Siler City to East Third, North Fifth, and South Sixth avenues, with most of the damage sustained downtown. On North Chatham Avenue, the vandals appeared to have fired shots all along storefronts on the western side of the street. Beginning with Turnberry Interior Design Group with two pellet holes all the way to the Old Farmers’ Market location with four pellet holes, at least 30 pellets were fired into downtown businesses, leaving the Chatham Rabbit’s front windows completely shattered.

According to Miller, the department has identified two suspects, aged14 and 16, in the crime. Because the suspects are juveniles, the process is different than that for adults.

“You just can’t go out and get an arrest warrant like an adult,” Miller said.

The department is in the process of issuing detention paperwork and authorities hope to have it complete this week. Charges for the juveniles will need to be deliberated and determined by a judge’s order.

The department has also identified two suspects in an incident that occurred at Siler City’s Walmart earlier in February. On Feb. 18, the Siler City Police Department sent out an alert with video screenshots seeking the identity of two men suspected in an attempted shoplift. Neither of the suspects has been charged at press time, but authorities are seeking the men in connection with an incident involving razor blades attached to shopping cart handles.

Miller said a challenge in making an arrest is the lack of identified injuries associated with the razor blade incident. Miller noted that one Walmart associate reported a cut on a finger, but could not recall where or when it happened, making linking it to the razor blades difficult. Another alleged victim reported an injury to an associate, but that victim has not been located. Miller said she hoped that publicity about the case would urge them to come forward.

“Without a victim, it makes it harder,” Miller said.

At the same time, the department is actively exploring misdemeanor charges that it could file against the suspects.

A similar incident occurred Feb. 25 in Smithfield where a woman was cut when a razor blade was taped to the handle of her vehicle when parked at the local courthouse. Miller does not believe the two incidents are related.

Walmart’s media relations office did not immediately return calls to the News + Record seeking additional information. Updates to these stories will be posted at www.chathamnewsrecord.com.

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