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Kanawha City community, police talk crime prevention

By Erin Beck

August 26, 2014

About 100 people turned out for a community meeting in Kanawha City on Tuesday to learn about crime prevention and ask questions of local police.

The meeting started out as a way to address the breaking and entering of homes on Lower Donnally Street.

After the Kanawha City Church of Christ became involved, organizers decided to expand the meeting to address community-wide concerns.

Kanawha City Foodland store clerk Shawna Sampson was shot in the chest two weeks ago during an armed robbery.

Kanawha City was also the location where George Molle, 90, was killed at his residence in January.

Foodland owner Rick Joseph thanked the community and police for their support and help over the past couple weeks.

"Probably the biggest question I get asked is 'how's your girl?'" he said. "She's out of the hospital. She still does have a collapsed lung and we went to court yesterday to make sure these guys stay in jail for a while."

Sampson, a 44-year-old Winifrede resident, was shot Aug. 14 when she entered the store's office where police say the armed robbers had gotten into the safe.

John Proctor III, 19, was charged with first-degree robbery and malicious wounding. Ricky Patterson, 18, and two 17-year-old juveniles, identified as "L.L." and "B.W" are charged with first-degree robbery.

Late Tuesday night, Charleston Police issued a statement that Telisa McCauley and Alisyn Proctor were taken into custody in Panama City, Florida.

The two females were allegedly offered $3,000 each to act as getaway drivers during the robbery.

The women are currently in Bay County Jail and were taken into custody by U.S. Marshals, according to Sgt. Tony Hazelett with the Charleston Police.

More details will be released during a press conference today, Hazelett said.

Joseph said he attended the other suspects' preliminary hearings Monday.

Despite those crimes and a recent rash of break-ins, Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster told the crowd that Kanawha City remains one of the safest places in the county, if not the safest, but also gave a warning for the areas known as the "nice neighborhoods."

"When you really think about these neighborhoods and compare them to other neighborhoods, they're going to be robbed less, but thieves are going to go where the valuables are," he said.

He also told attendees, many of whom were concerned about recent break-ins, how to reduce the likelihood of robbery.

He recommended locking all doors, keeping outdoor lights lit, considering cameras and alarm systems and calling police about suspicious activity.

He also recommended attendees be wary of door-to-door salesmen or contractors, because some criminals use the work to scope out potential victims' homes.

Webster and Chief of Detectives Lt. Steve Cooper advised residents to keep track of serial numbers and record detailed descriptions of valuables in case police need those records after a robbery.

Cooper said police have had success using an online service, LeadsOnline, to track if stolen property has shown up at pawn shops.

Last year police recovered nearly $200,000 of merchandise using that system.

Cooper also asked residents to be patient while officers ensure public safety after felony cases like the armed robbery at Foodland.

"All of my detectives are going to be tied up trying to find the person," he said. "There may be a period of three to four days when some of the cases that come in get delayed."

Webster also said he wanted to address the need for officers to become more vigilant after the Foodland robbery.

"I don't want the police officers shaking everyone down and beating everyone up, but at the same time, when we have a shooting like we did at Foodland, I want those guys to pull out all the stops," he said.

He said residents would have more respect for officers "at the end of the day."

"If they're riding around with the windows up listening to music on a nice cool night, when they should have the windows down listening. They're not being nosy," he said. "They're being paid to be nosy, but they're not out of line."

Reach Erin Beck at erin.beck@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5163 or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.

Source: http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140826/GZ01/140829392

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