Spring Safety Reminders

As temperatures increase over the next several weeks, the Lee County Sheriff's Office would like to remind you to take the follow precautions as you enjoy the spring season:

1. Always keep your home's doors and windows locked when you go to bed or leave your house, even if you are leaving for a short period.

2. Secure all lawn and gardening equipment in your garage or a storage shed, and keep your garage doors closed at all times (even when you're doing work around the house).

3. Put all ladders and other tools back into a secure storage area after you use them.

4. Be aware of home improvements scams. If you did not solicit the contractor or salesman who shows up at your door unannounced, do not do business with that person.

5. Always remember to close your car windows, take any valuables out of your car, and lock your doors every time you exit your vehicle, even if your vehicle is parked in your driveway.

6. Get to know your neighbors! Let a trusted neighbor know if you are planning to travel this spring. Neighbors who know each other look out for each other.

Tax Season Scams - Stay Alert

It’s tax season and criminals are seizing the opportunity for scams.  Don’t become the next victim.

Scammers leverage every means at their disposal to separate you from your money, your identity, or anything else of value they can get. They may offer seemingly legitimate “tax services” designed to steal your identity and your tax refund, sometimes with the lure of bigger write-offs or refunds. Scams may include mocked up websites and tax forms that look like they belong to the IRS to trick you into providing your personal information.

Scam artists can prey on users by promising refunds that are fraudulent, a scam the IRS says has been rampant in previous years. In these scams, notices are posted on bulletin boards, in libraries, and at other community sites where people visit either in person or online.  Scammers make money from this trick in two ways:  first, they collect a fee for helping to “file” for a refund on behalf of their victims, and then they steal the victim’s identity for further exploitation. The victims are left paying a fee for a fraudulent service, not getting a refund they thought they would, and are potentially in a position to face charges for failing to file a return or for committing fraudulent reporting.

How to Recognize an Email Tax Scam

According to the IRS, below are the key ways to recognize an email tax scam.  The email:

?         requests personal and/or financial information, such as name, SSN, bank or credit card account numbers or security-related information, such as mother’s maiden name, either in the email itself or on another site to which a link in the email directs you;

?         includes exciting offers to get you to respond, such as mentioning a tax refund or offering to pay you to participate in an IRS survey;

?         threatens a consequence for not responding to the email, such as additional taxes or blocking access to your funds;

?         has incorrect spelling for the Internal Revenue Service or other federal agencies;

?         uses incorrect grammar or odd phrasing;

?         discusses “changes to tax laws” that include a downloadable document (usually in PDF format) that purports to explain the new tax laws (these downloads are populated with malware that, once downloaded, may infect your computer).

How To Avoid Becoming A Victim

To stay safer this tax season, follow these five steps:

1.       Secure your computer. If your computer does not have proper security controls, it is vulnerable to access by criminals, who may be able to steal information stored on it.  Make sure your computer has the latest security updates installed. Check that your anti-virus and anti-spyware software are running properly and are receiving automatic updates from the vendor. If you haven't already done so, install and enable a firewall.

2.       Carefully select the sites you visit. Safely searching for tax forms, advice on deductibles, tax preparers, and other similar topics requires caution.  Know the site. Know the company.  Do not visit a site by clicking on a link sent in an email, found on someone’s blog, or on an advertisement. The website you land on may look just like the real site, but it may be a well-crafted fake.

3.       Don’t fall prey to email, web, or social networking scams.  Common scams tout tax rebates, offer great deals on tax preparation or offer a free tax calculator tool. If you did not solicit the information, it’s likely a scam.  If the email claims to be from the IRS, it’s a scam – the IRS will not contact you via email, text messaging or your social network, nor does it advertise on websites. If the email appears to be from your employer, bank, broker, etc. claiming there is an issue with what they reported for you and you need to verify some information, it might be a scam.  Do not respond to the email. Contact the entity directly before responding.

4.       Never send sensitive information in an email. It may be intercepted and read by criminals.

5.       Use strong passwords. Cyber criminals have developed programs that automate the ability to guess your passwords. To protect yourself, passwords must be difficult for others to guess, but at the same time, easy for you to remember. Passwords should include upper case (capital letters), lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.  Make sure your work passwords are different from your personal passwords.

Sanford Man Arrested for Sexual Exploitation

Daniel Wayne Groth (44) of 325 Bowles Ln. Sanford NC was arrested and charged with 7 cts of 2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor; he was held under $100,000 secured bond. 

Soco Lane Woman Arrested for Arson

3/10/2021 @ 5:00 AM deputies were called to 85 Soco Ln. Sanford NC in reference to a residence being set fire during a domestic dispute. Amdendrius Elizabeth McRae reported Shelia Renee Johns of 85 Soco Ln. attempted to set their residence on fire by pouring lighter fluid on the bedroom floor and setting it on fire. McRae reported her and Johns were arguing over a laptop computer. The residence suffered approximately $1,000 worth of damage. Johns was arrested on scene and charged w/ 1st degree arson and was held under no bond.

Sanford Man Arrested for B/E & Other Charges

3/3/2021 Anthony Leon Patterson (51) of 208 Mt. Pisgah Ch Rd. Sanford was arrested for misdemeanor breaking and entering, domestic criminal trespassing, violating a domestic protective order and injury to personal property; he was held under $100,000 secured bond.

Lock That Shed Down!

The LCSO has recently seen an increase of thefts from outbuildings and sheds.  Items stolen included weed eaters, power tools, blowers, amongst other items of value.  As a reminder, please ensure your personal property is secured daily.  Ensure your vehicle doors are locked and that outbuildings and sheds have properly working locking mechanisms.

Report any suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1.

Smishing..... Don't Take The Bait!

One of the most common and successful tricks cyber criminals use to trigger you into falling for their scams is fake “stressor events”. In this context, “stressor events”, are shocking or compromising situations that inflict fear or provoke other emotions, for the purpose of causing an impulsive reaction.

How it works:

When the bad guys present a shocking claim to an unknowing victim, they often add a sense of urgency to drive home the “importance” of the scenario. In reality, this sense of urgency is another factor increasing the chances that you’ll react impulsively and click on their malicious links or download their dangerous attachments. Attackers explain their fake scenarios in the body of their phishing emails, but they’re also known for using shocking subject lines such as, “Act Now: Fraudulent activity on your checking account”. Though these tactics certainly aren’t limited to phishing emails, scammers also use these techniques in Smishing (SMS, or text phishing) and Vishing (voice phishing) attempts.

How to avoid falling victim to pressure:

The reason these attackers are often successful is because they‘re convincing the target to either avoid a negative consequence or gain something of value. Stop and think about the likelihood of the scenario before making the wrong move.

Never open an attachment you weren’t expecting. Even if it appears to be from someone you know, pick up the phone to verify it’s legitimate. 

If the sender of the email is difficult to get in touch with or unwilling to speak on the phone, it’s likely a scam.

If the sender requests that you send or receive money in unusual ways it’s probably a scam. For example, if they’re requesting a payment in the form of gift cards, don’t fall for it!

If you feel that you have been comprised, contact our department immediately and retain all emails/texts/phone records, etc.

Latest Scam

Many of you probably recall the infamous "Chinese Seeds" that started to appear nationwide in mailboxes in 2020.  Well, now it's facemasks.   The Better Business Bureau says this is part of a scam called “brushing” where companies, usually foreign, third-party sellers, are sending the items are using a person’s address found online.

According to the BBB, their intention is to make it appear as though you wrote a glowing online review of their merchandise, and that you are a verified buyer of that merchandise.  They then post a fake, positive review to improve their products’ ratings, which means more sales for them.  

For those who receive an unsolicited item(s), it's recommended that you contact the Sanford post office and advise them.  They have protocols for things of this nature.  If the item was shipped by a "big box" store, contact their customer service department and perhaps consider changing your passwords on your online accounts. 

Also, According to the FTC, you are allowed to keep something you didn't order if it's specifically sent to your name and your address, and you don't owe any money for it.

We recommend that you dispose of any masks due to the unknown origin of the product.

Stay Safe

Search Warrant in Broadway Executed; One Arrested, Drugs Seized

Late Tuesday night, January 26th, at approximately 11:00pm, Lee County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics agents executed a search warrant on the property located at 336 Patchett’s Creek Lane, Broadway.

In the course of the search agents located approximately 136 grams of fentanyl, and 750 grams of marijuana. Dwight Leander Solomon was taken into custody and processed and charged with 1 count of trafficking opium/heroin by possession, one count of felony maintaining a dwelling place for the storage and sells of an illegal controlled substance, and one count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Solomon was jailed under a $250,000.00 secured bond.

Search Warrant Executed On Saunders Rd; One Arrested, Drugs & Firearms Seized

On Thursday January 21, 2021, at 10:11 pm, Lee County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics agents executed a search warrant on the residence located at 1874 Saunders Road, Sanford, NC. During the course of the search agents located 965 grams of marijuana, 54 dosage units of Suboxone, 488 dosage units of Xanax, two assault rifles, one shotgun, and four pistols. One of the pistols was entered as a stolen firearm.  Agents also seized $6440.00 in currency. 

Shane Carter Taylor, age 28, was taken into custody and charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, one count of possession of a stolen firearm, one count of felony possession with the intent to sell and deliver marijuana, one count of possession with the intent to sell and deliver a schedule III controlled substance, one count of possession with the intent to sell and deliver a schedule IV controlled substance, one count of felony maintaining a dwelling place for the storage and sales of an illegal controlled substance, and one count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Taylor was jailed with no bond.

You May Just Be Helping A Criminal Commit The Crime....

As citizens, we all share the responsibility to see that our belongings stay secure and that we don't get complacent, this is when criminals take advantage of us.  Criminals look for easy opportunities such as stealing small items that can be bought or traded without being traced.

I once had a fortune cookie that read "Society Prepares The Crime, The Criminal Commits It".    Never has there been a statement as true as this!  

Report any suspicious activity to the Sheriff's department.    No law enforcement agency can operate effectively without the cooperation of the people it serves.  The concept of crime prevention invites ALL segments of the community to proactively participate in the reduction of crime.

In an effort to prevent crimes in Lee county, We've put together some helpful tips to follow. 

·  Lock your doors and windows to prevent "Crimes of Opportunity". A high number of crimes are thefts of property. Many of these thefts are through unlocked doors. These are preventable thefts. Lock Out Crime!

·  Keep your car locked and your valuables stored securely. Secure CD cases, purses, radar detectors, cellular phones, portable stereos, and other valuables in trunk. Conceal otherwise conspicuous stereo equipment.
·  Report suspicious strangers or activities by dialing 9-1-1. Make a phone list of numbers (non-emergency too) to call (Police, Sheriff, Animal Control, etc) ahead of time so you have it handy when you need it! 

·  Maintain identification records (make, model, serial number, original cost) of all valuable property. If possible, photograph or otherwise maintain visual record of valuables.

·  You're Smart. Be smart. Be Aware. Be Safe. Lock Out Crime.

Home Safety:
  • Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in.
  • Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock your doors.
  • Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
  • Keep your garage door closed and locked.
  • Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
  • Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
  • Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary.
  • Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.
  • Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security.
  • Other windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store for alternatives.
Don't Tempt a Thief!
  • Lawn mowers, barbecues and bicycles are best stored out of sight
  • Always lock your garden sheds, garages and any outside buiildings.
  • Use curtains on garage and basement windows.
  • Never leave notes on your door such as “Gone shopping.”
Locks…Get the Best:
  • No lock, regardless of its quality, can be truly effective. Key-in dead bolt locks provide minimum security. Ask a local locksmith for advice on your situation.
  • Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.
  • When moving into a new home, have all locks changed.
Targeting the Outside:
  • Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
  • Trim trees and shrubs so that they cannot be used as hiding places for intruders.
  • Make sure your door hinges are on the inside.
  • Most windows can be pinned for security.
  • Drill a 3/16" hole on a slight downward slant through the inside window frame and halfway into the outside frame - place a nail in the hole to secure the windows.  A quick Youtube search can yield great results!
  • An alarm system is excellent for home security. It provides peace of mind to homeowners, especially while on vacation. There is a wide variety of alarm systems on the market.
  • Make several inquiries to different companies for the best security system available to you.
  • If you have a home alarm system, use it! Activate your alarm system — Alarm systems are only useful when you remember to activate them.
  • Many individuals have alarm systems but do not arm them because it is inconvenient. Many burglars know this and will not be deterred by a window sticker or sign indicating that the home has an alarm system.
If Your Home Is Broken Into:
If you come home to find an unexplained open/broken window or door:
  • Do not enter - the perpetrator may still be inside.
  • Use your cell phone or a neighbor's phone to call police.
  • Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.
  • Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles.
  • Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons. (Note description from head to toe)

Car Burglaries
Tips on how to avoid car break-ins:
  •  Do not leave valuables in plain view:
    (GPS devices, laptops, cell phones, wallets, purses, backpacks, etc)
  •  Do not leave windows or sunroof open.
  •  Do not leave doors unlocked.
  •  Do not leave keys in the vehicle.
  •  Do not leave the garage door opener in plain view.
  •  Do not leave out items with personal information.
  •  Do not move valuable items to the trunk while in public view.
  •  Slow down and use common sense before you leave your car.
Following these tips will help you and your family stay safe and protect your personal property for years to come!

Beware of Holiday Scams

With the ever-growing popularity of online shopping and online communications, you should always have your guard up in the cyberworld. Criminals will use any situation to their advantage–especially when it comes to annual holidays.  Below you’ll find a few examples of commonly used seasonal and holiday scams, and what you can do to protect yourself.

Fake Shipping/Postal Notifications: End of the year holidays invite a greater likelihood of this common phishing attack, but this is a scam you must be cautious of all year long. Scammers send fake notifications that appear to come from postal service companies. The emails include dangerous links that, if clicked, could install malware on your computer or take you to a fake login page where your credentials will be stolen.

What should you do? To check the legitimacy of these types of claims, always log in to your online account or service through your browser–not through links in unexpected emails.

Travel Deals and Offers: Scammers know that their potential victims travel for holidays throughout the year. Cybercriminals send emails offering fake travel deals from well-known travel sites. They’re even known to create phony websites for cheap hotels and flights so they can rob you of your money.

What should you do? When something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Never click on links in unexpected emails. Before booking through an unfamiliar service, do your research and ensure the company is legitimate.

Social Media Deals and Sales: All social media advertisements are not created equal. A “paid advertisement” may seem trustworthy, but be warned: Anyone can pay to put an ad on social media. During holidays and popular shopping seasons, fraudsters buy ads that offer deals for items that you’re more-than-likely interested in–considering social media ads target the buyer market. The ads typically contain phishing links that lead to fraudulent websites where they will steal your credit card data. Even if the malicious ad is reported and removed, the bad guys typically only need one victim to fall for their trick to make it worth their investment.

What should you do? Always hover over links and URLs before clicking to check whether the URL will take you to a dangerous or unexpected site. If a social media ad appears to be from a company you’re familiar with, check the company’s website instead of clicking on links from the ad.

(Please share with your elderly friends and family)

County Man Wanted on Numerous Charges


Mr. Martin turned himself.   

The Lee County Sheriff Office holds arrest warrants for the following individual:

Justin Blake Martin (26) of 208 Hawk Rd. Sanford NC for:

Felony Conversion of property

Filing false report

Felony Elude arrest

2 cts Careless and Reckless driving

Resisting officers

He was last seen in Broadway operating a 2014 Blue GMC Sierra truck w/ “Martin” on front plate of vehicle.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Martin is urged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 919-775-5531.

Sixty Three Year Old Man Charged with Rape and Other Charges

11/24/2020 Ciro Ramos Medina (63) of 2718 Pine Acres Dr., Sanford was arrested on true bill of indictment for statutory rape of a child by an adult, statutory sex offence w/ a child by an adult and taking indecent liberties; he was held under $500,000 secured bond.

Holiday Shopping Safety


Statistics show that this time of year attracts more shopping-related criminal activity because of the larger crowds and the extended store hours.  These factors and the usual distraction of shopping, creates a more favorable environment for petty thieves and other offenders.

Residents are encouraged to follow these safety tips:

 Shopping Safety:


·       A single shopper is the best target for theft.  Always shop with a friend or relative.

·       When going shopping, tell someone where you are going and what time to expect you to return.  Also, make sure they know what you are wearing, as well as the type of vehicle you are driving.

·       Shop during daylight hours.  If you shop at night, park your vehicle in a well-lit area.

·       Dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.  If carrying cash, keep it in your front pocket rather than in a purse or wallet.  This makes it much more difficult for a pick-pocket to remove.  Also store car keys in a pants or jacket pocket.  If your purse is stolen, you will still be able to drive home.

·       Pay careful attention to your surroundings and avoid overloading yourself with packages.  It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

·       When returning to your vehicle, check around it and in the back seat.  Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason.  Have you car keys in your hand to avoid spending unnecessary time unprotected from the security of your vehicle.

·       If you feel uneasy returning to your vehicle alone, find a security guard and ask them to walk you to your car.


 Credit Card Fraud:


·       Keep a close watch on your credit card every time you use it, and make sure you    get it back as quickly as possible.

·       Never write your PIN number on your credit card.

·       Never leave your credit cards or receipts lying around.

·       Shield your credit card number so that others around you can’t copy it or capture it on a mobile telephone or other camera.

·       Only carry credit cards that you absolutely need.

·       Shred anything with your credit card number written on it.

·      If you’re planning to purchase online, make sure the web page where you enter your credit card information is secure through SSL (Secure Socket Layer).  You can tell if the web page is secure by looking for the gold lock or key icon at the bottom corner of your browser window.

·      If you’re not comfortable submitting your information through the internet, call the seller and give them your information over the telephone.  Never send your credit card information via email.

·      Check the company out.  Only do business with companies that provide a physical address and telephone number. 

·      Keep good records.  Always print out a copy of any online products or services you purchase.


                 Gift Card Fraud:


·      Never buy gift cards from online auction sites.  This is a large source of gift card fraud.  Many of the gift cards are stolen, counterfeit or used.

·      Only buy gift cards directly from the store issuing the gift card or from a secure retailer’s website.

·      Don’t buy gift cards off of publicly displayed racks in retail stores.  Only purchase gift cards at the sales terminal from the cashier.

·      Always carefully examine both the front and back of a gift card before you buy it.  If you see a PIN number, ask for a different card.  If the card looks like it has been tampered with in any way, put it back.

·      Always ask the store cashier to scan the gift card in front of you.  This will guarantee that your card is valid when you buy it and that it reflects the balance you just charged it with.

·      Always keep your receipt as a proof of purchase as long as there is money stored on the gift card.

·      If possible, register your gift card at the store’s website

·      Never give your Social Security number, date of birth or any other unneeded private information when purchasing a gift card.  No reputable company will ask for this information.


Unfortunately, when shopping, people have a tendency to let their guard down. However, paying attention and taking precautions can help eliminate their chances of being victimized.  Please be vigilant and call 9-1-1 if you see anything suspicious!