Hoax caller arrested

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 22, 2007

WINDSOR – The long arm of the law works very well.

Thanks to information shared by law enforcement agencies across the nation, a Durham woman, wanted on charges in Bertie County, was arrested Tuesday in Elizabeth City.

Tomeka Shenett Vaughan, 31, of 624 Middle Street, Durham, was the target of a Bertie County Sheriff’s Office investigation. The Hertford County native was wanted in connection with a March 6 incident in Powellsville concerning a hostage situation.

As reported in the March 10 edition of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, three separate phone calls for help dealing with a possible hostage crisis proved to be false as 11 units of the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office raced to a residence on Sally Freeman Road in Powellsville. There they found the three occupants of the residence safe and sound.

Bertie Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Ed Pittman began his investigation at that point. Using the &uot;caller ID&uot; information gained from the three calls to the Sheriff’s Office, Pittman traced that number to a Durham motel. A check by motel personnel revealed that a phone in one of their rooms was used to place calls to Windsor on March 6. It was later learned that while Vaughan’s name was not listed as the renter of the room in question, she was one of the occupants of that room on March 6.

From that room, Pittman alleges Vaughan telephoned the Bertie Sheriff’s Office and, posing as her mother, claimed that Cola Harrell was holding her daughter hostage at a residence on the Sally Freeman Road.

Harrell aided in the investigation. At the request of Pittman, Harrell went to the Bertie Sheriff’s Office where he identified the voice on the call as that of Vaughan.

&uot;Once we had Mr. Harrell’s confirmation as well as the information from the motel in Durham, that led us to draw the warrants for Tomeka Vaughan’s arrest,&uot; Pittman said.

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday (March 20), Pittman entered the warrant information onto NCIC, a national database for law enforcement agencies. Two hours later, an officer with the Elizabeth City Police Department stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation. Upon entering Vaughan’s name and other information into the network, the Elizabeth City police officer learned Vaughan was wanted in Bertie County.

Bertie Sheriff’s deputies picked-up Vaughan from custody in Elizabeth City. She stands charged with making a false report to a police station and was jailed under a $10,000 cash bond. Vaughan is scheduled to make her first court appearance today (Thursday) in Windsor.

In addition, Vaughan was served with two outstanding warrants on the charges of making a threatening phone call and making a harassing phone call.

&uot;I hope this arrest sends a message that we will not tolerate those making hoax calls to our office,&uot; Bertie Sheriff Greg Atkins said.