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Sarah Willets

Position: Reporter
E-Mail Address: swillets@civitasmedia.com
Phone Number: 910-816-1974


About Sarah Willets

Covering breaking news, crime, health, Lumberton and Fairmont

Latest Stories by Sarah Willets

IRS issues warning about caller scams

LUMBERTON — With tax season approaching, scammers posing as the IRS are at it again, calling unsuspecting residents to demand they pay money they don't owe. Several county residents have received calls this week from people claiming to represent the IRS. In some cases, residents may soon after receive a second call from someone posing as law

Crime report

Thefts Frankie Green reported Thursday that an employee stole $1,400 worth of tools and $60 in cash from Tire Country on Elizabethtown Road in Lumberton, according to a police report. Lindsay Anderson reported Wednesday that a $60 car battery, four distributors valued at $179 and a plug wire valued at $25 were stolen from Muffler King on East Fif

Contributed photos A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke as part of a week-long Martin Luther King Jr. celebration under the theme of “honoring others and paying it forward.” Other events include a blood-drive today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m in the U.C. Lounge; a Student Art Exhibit and

Photos: Martin Luther King Jr. vigil at UNCP

Contributed photos A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke as part of a week-long Martin Luther King Jr. celebration under the theme of “honoring others and paying it forward.” Other events include a blood-drive today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m in the U.C. Lounge; a Student Art Exhibit and

LUMBERTON — Lumberton police are asking for the public's help in identifying a gunman involved in four armed robberies during the last 12 days.
According to a statement from Capt. Terry Parker, the man has gone into four stores since Jan. 10, pulled out a gun and then fled on foot.
The first of the four robberies occurred at Stocks Grocery

Police seek information on gunman who robbed 4 stores

LUMBERTON — Lumberton police are asking for the public's help in identifying a gunman involved in four armed robberies during the last 12 days. According to a statement from Capt. Terry Parker, the man has gone into four stores since Jan. 10, pulled out a gun and then fled on foot. The first of the four robberies occurred at Stocks Grocery

Crime report

Thefts Sterling Lesane, of Cliffridge Drive, Lumberton, reported a $125 Spaulding basketball goal was stolen on Tuesday, according to a police report. Nancy Felsing, of French Avenue, Lumberton, reported Tuesday that her $250 Samsung cell phone and $50 in cash were stolen during a burglary at her home, according to a police report. Vandalism Ga

Crime report

Break-ins The following break-ins were reported to the Robeson County Sheriff's Office: Treasa Ward, of N.C. 211 East, Lumberton; Karen Lynch, of N.C. 20 West, Lumber Bridge; Doris Clark, of Gaddy's Mill Road, Rowland; Pamela Nicholson, of N.C. 72 West, Lumberton; Ieshia Barnes, of Peacock Lane, Lumberton; Kayla McKenzie, of Ward Street, Lumberto

Fairmont again balks on ban of sagging pants

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Board of Commissioners on Tuesday again tabled a proposed ordinance that would ban sagging pants in the town, and the commissioner who spearheaded the effort says he won't continue to push it. “I just don't foresee bringing it up for discussion again,” Commissioner Terry Evans said after the board's regula

Gunman robs convenience store

LUMBERTON — The Robeson County Sheriff's Office is looking for a gunman who robbed a convenience store Monday on N.C. 41 North. Deputies were called to Minuteman Food Mart on the 9700 block of N.C. 41 at about 4:45 p.m. Monday when a silent alarm was activated, according to Maj. Anthony Thompson, chief of detectives for the Sheriff's Office.

LUMBERTON — Tobacco once brought tens of millions of dollars into Robeson County each year.
Now a study says it costs smokers — who make up about a quarter of Robeson's adult population — as much as $1 million over their lifetimes.
Catherine Gaines, a physician assistant and patient navigator at Southeastern Health's Gibson Canc

The high cost of smoking cigarettes

LUMBERTON — Tobacco once brought tens of millions of dollars into Robeson County each year. Now a study says it costs smokers — who make up about a quarter of Robeson's adult population — as much as $1 million over their lifetimes. Catherine Gaines, a physician assistant and patient navigator at Southeastern Health's Gibson Canc

Crime report

Thefts Matthew Martin, of Marion Road, Lumberton, reported Saturday that someone broke into his house, causing $175 in damage to a window and a door, and stole an HP laptop valued at $298 and an XBox gaming system valued at $180, according to a police report. Thurman Gerald, of Swann Drive, Lumberton, reported Sunday that someone cut a fence at h

LUMBERTON — Robeson County's district attorney says a hold on executions in North Carolina does not deter his office from pursuing the death penalty, but an overwhelming backlog of pending murder cases makes capital cases, which are costly and lengthy, less likely.
The state has been under a de facto moratorium against executions since 2006

DA: Capital cases expensive, lengthy

LUMBERTON — Robeson County's district attorney says a hold on executions in North Carolina does not deter his office from pursuing the death penalty, but an overwhelming backlog of pending murder cases makes capital cases, which are costly and lengthy, less likely. The state has been under a de facto moratorium against executions since 2006

3 face drug charges; 7 lbs. of pot seized

MAXTON — A several-months-long investigation by the Robeson County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Division culminated Thursday when three people were arrested and 7 pounds of marijuana seized. According to the Narcotics Division, agents had been monitoring Kevin Clark Jr. for several months, and on Thursday searched his home on Gaddy's Mill Road

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder has largely prohibited a program that allows local and state law enforcement agencies to seize property without issuing warrants or criminal charges, turn it over to the federal government, and receive a portion of the assets back to put towards fighting crime.
The Equitable Sharing program was once

Holder limits asset-sharing fed program

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder has largely prohibited a program that allows local and state law enforcement agencies to seize property without issuing warrants or criminal charges, turn it over to the federal government, and receive a portion of the assets back to put towards fighting crime. The Equitable Sharing program was once

PEMBROKE — Having witnessed the civil rights movement from the front lines, Benjamin Chavis says the fight for equality is far from over.
“I would say in 2015 we need a civil rights movement today more than we needed it years ago,” Chavis said during a brief speech to a group of about 30 people Friday night gathered at The Univer

'All lives matter'

PEMBROKE — Having witnessed the civil rights movement from the front lines, Benjamin Chavis says the fight for equality is far from over. “I would say in 2015 we need a civil rights movement today more than we needed it years ago,” Chavis said during a brief speech to a group of about 30 people Friday night gathered at The Univer

Crime report

Thefts Scott Jones, of Bradford Street, Lumberton reported Thursday that $150 worth of medication was stolen from his home, according to a police report. Break-ins The following break-ins were reported to the Robeson County Sheriff's Office: Gellcia Martinez, of Ronald Boulevard, Lumberton; Bobby Hunt, of Old Red Springs Road, Red Springs; Jord

LUMBERTON — Four men have pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Robeson County cases so far this year, including one who may have otherwise faced a death sentence.
On Monday, 24-year-old Charles Edward Leach pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the death of Moses Robinson on Oct. 4, 2012.
According to Robeson County District Attor

LUMBERTON — Four men have pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Robeson County cases so far this year, including one who may have otherwise faced a death sentence. On Monday, 24-year-old Charles Edward Leach pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the death of Moses Robinson on Oct. 4, 2012. According to Robeson County District Attor

PEMBROKE — Having witnessed the civil rights movement from the front lines, Benjamin Chavis says the fight for equality is far from over.
“I would say in 2015 we need a civil rights movement today more than we needed it years ago,” Chavis said during a brief speech to about 30 people Friday night gathered at The University of Nor

Chavis: More work to do

PEMBROKE — Having witnessed the civil rights movement from the front lines, Benjamin Chavis says the fight for equality is far from over. “I would say in 2015 we need a civil rights movement today more than we needed it years ago,” Chavis said during a brief speech to about 30 people Friday night gathered at The University of Nor

With 2015 underway, here are some of my plans for the Fairmont Police Department this year, and some accomplishments so far.
One of the plans I'm most proud of is having a certified instructor available for in-house training. Lt. David Schmale attended two weeks of training at Robeson Community College to achieve that certification. The instructor

Fairmont's top cop details plans

With 2015 underway, here are some of my plans for the Fairmont Police Department this year, and some accomplishments so far. One of the plans I'm most proud of is having a certified instructor available for in-house training. Lt. David Schmale attended two weeks of training at Robeson Community College to achieve that certification. The instructor

Sheriff's Office investigating separate shootings

LUMBERTON — The Robeson County Sheriff's Office is investigating a domestic shooting involving a health worker at the Robeson County Detention Center. The incident is one of two non-fatal shootings on Monday being investigated, the other being a home invasion.Jake Lowery, 32, is recovering after being shot multiple times by his wife, Laura Sm

Crime report

Thefts Patch Biggins, of Laurel Oak Lane, Lumberton, reported Wednesday that someone broke into her car and stole $160 worth of items, including a pocketbook, a wallet, bank cards, a license and keys, according to a police report. Break-ins The following break-ins were reported to the Robeson County Sheriff's Office: Michael Smiling, of Old Low





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