Officer James Lee-Wood
On July 22nd, Officer James Lee-Wood responded to Spartanburg Street to take a petit larceny report. Video footage of the incident was available, and the officer received a tip from a community member stating that the suspect was believed to be an individual with the street name of “Chicken Hawk.” Officer Lee-Wood researched recent burglaries and other property crimes within the Overbrook and Greenline communities to see if there were commonalities between the crimes.
Because the video wasn’t clear enough to make identification certain, Lee-Wood decided to track down and interview Chicken Hawk about the stolen items. On July 23rd, Officer Lee-Wood was advised by a relative that Chicken Hawk wasn’t at home; he was given consent to search the premises and did not locate any stolen items. Officer Lee-Wood patrolled the Greenline area and observed Chicken Hawk standing on the street. The suspect refused to meet with the officer at the Law Enforcement Center for questioning, but as the suspect was placing Lee-Wood’s business card into his pocket, the officer saw a hand-rolled marijuana cigarette protruding from his pocket.
As he was being arrested for marijuana possession, Chicken Hawk asked if he could secure the weed-eater he had been using, which was lying alongside a nearby residence. This specific Echo weed-eater was discovered to have been recently stolen from an address on Overbrook Road. Based upon the recovery of the stolen weed-eater, numerous recent lawn equipment/tool thefts in the area, the presence of numerous pieces of lawn equipment at the rear of the residence, and the suspect as a person of interest in recent area thefts, Officer Lee-Wood obtained a search warrant for the address.
Upon returning with the search warrant, officers seized more than seventy items such as push mowers, weed-eaters, leaf blowers, mopeds, fishing poles, power and hand tools, and generators. A second search warrant was obtained for the residence; more than twenty grams of marijuana, pills, and several pieces of drug paraphernalia, marijuana seeds, and empty containers indicated that the resident at this address was likely storing and distributing marijuana and cocaine.
As a result, Officer Lee-Wood was able to charge Chicken Hawk with possession of marijuana and the resident with two counts of receiving stolen goods and possession of marijuana (second offense). More charges for receiving possession of stolen goods are pending and additional pieces of property are being linked to previous property crimes. Based upon comparison of video with Chicken Hawk’s physical features, Officer Lee-Wood was able to clear Chicken Hawk as the individual who had committed the Spartanburg Street petit larceny.
Officer Lee-Wood’s case demonstrates our department’s core values of conscientiousness and excellence. He looked beyond the basics of taking a larceny report; he initiated follow-up investigation in hopes of generating useful leads. His performance demonstrates the ability of motivated patrol officers to make a substantial difference in case resolution. Officer Lee-Wood’s dedication and diligence not only resulted in recovered property and criminal charges, it also disrupted drug activity within the Greenline community and identified a potential stash house for stolen property.