A local resident, Timothy Scott Lawrence, 51, residing in Cullowhee, is confronted with multiple felony charges following separate investigations carried out by two law enforcement agencies.
Lawrence faces an array of charges resulting from investigations by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Sylva Police Department. JCSO’s investigation led to his arrest for breaking or entering a motor vehicle, financial card theft, and possession of stolen goods, while SPD’s inquiry resulted in seven counts each of identity theft and obtaining property by false pretense.
The warrants for Lawrence’s arrest were issued on October 18 by JCSO and on October 19 by SPD.
Allegedly, Lawrence broke into Richard Henderson’s 2000 Subaru Forester on March 2, stealing Henderson’s banking card. Subsequently, possession of the stolen card resulted in charges for possession of stolen goods.
SPD was alerted to investigate related offenses within their jurisdiction. “The Sylva PD was contacted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office regarding a case they were investigating,” stated SPD Lt. Aimee Watson. “Detectives from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office were handling the larceny and theft involving the victim’s, Richard Henderson’s, stolen credit card.”
Following the break-in, Lawrence purportedly commenced using Henderson’s credit card. SPD’s investigation revealed a string of charges at various Sylva stores from March 3 to May 4, all linked back to Lawrence.
Henderson provided law enforcement with a list of unauthorized charges made to his credit card. Using this information, SPD contacted business owners and obtained video surveillance footage confirming Lawrence’s alleged use of the card.
Lawrence’s expenditures ranged from convenience stores to major retailers and grocery stores, totaling nearly $1,000. The charges varied from $14.61 at Cook Out to approximately $668 at Lowe’s Home Improvement. Other transactions included amounts ranging from $15 at Ingles to $104 at PJ’s Fast Food Mart, with stops at AutoZone for $34.65, Hot Spot for $95.51, and How Convenient for $42.
Watson clarified that each use of the stolen card led to separate charges of obtaining property by false pretense and identity theft.
In North Carolina, identity theft is a Class G felony, potentially leading to six to 47 months of imprisonment, fines up to $50,000, and possible restitution. Obtaining property by false pretense, for amounts under $100,000, is a Class H felony carrying a sentence of up to 25 months upon conviction.
Breaking or entering a motor vehicle is a Class I felony with a possible 12-month sentence. Financial card theft is also a Class I felony if the goods obtained exceed $500 in a six-month period, carrying a maximum penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or probation.
Possession of stolen goods, categorized as a Class H felony, carries a potential 24-month sentence if convicted.
Initially held at the Jackson County Detention Center under a $10,000 bond, Lawrence was not listed on the Detention Center roster as of Wednesday morning.